Saturday, 5 April 2014

Equilibrium Movie Review

Movie revirew of Equilibrium

Director: Kurt Wimmer

Release Year: 2002

Running Time: 107 minutes 

Starring: Christian Bale, Sean Bean, Dominic Purcell, Sean Pertwee, William Fichtner, Taye Diggs

"Equilibrium" is a sci-fi film that has more truth in it than viewers would think.  In a fascist world of the future, after a Third World War, a totalitarian government controls whats left of mankind - a not so farfetched idea.  The film stars Christian Bale, in the lead role, and combines a deeply embedded and thought out storyline with entertaining kung-fu styled gun fighting. 

In "Equilibrium", the world is not as we know it. A totalitarian government has taken control after a huge war and they nearly have control of everything. In an effort to keep peace and society obedient, they use an injection to stop people feeling.  Out of the city, rebels lurk, trying to survive and storing relics of what is now the old world; photos, ornaments, paintings and anything that is culturally relevant.  The government sends out teams of Clerics who are ordered to destroy any art form and bring to justice those who can still feel. John Preston (Bale) is one of the best clerics and soon realises what has happened, as he regains his feelings he fights against the whole system to try and overthrow the government. 

Review, rating, trailer and photos of Equilibirum

"Equilibrium" is a great sci-fi film which many viewers can enjoy.  First of all the story line is great.  It is well developed and then pushed to the depths of the movie.  Not much reference or information is needed as the storyline floods through each layer of the movie from the way it has been created. This enables the movie to show different aspects  like the incredibly fast paced shooting scenes.  A cross between "The Matrix" (1999) and "Enter the Dragon" (1973), the movie comes alive anytime character John Preston has to kill someone or even a large group of people. A very well choreographed fight plan throughout the film keeps the excitement high and the viewer engaged for longer.  

Equilibrium movie review

Bale's class shines above anyone else in the film and it is a great demonstration of the skills that would have played a part in him being chosen to play Christopher Nolan's Bruce Wayne/Batman in The Dark Knight Trilogy. Slick and professional, Bale is able to portray the traits and mannerisms of someone who is gradually gaining their feelings and emotions back in what is very nearly an emotionless world.  Sean Bean, as he often does, has a small part in the film but his character sets in motion John Preston's emotional rediscovery.  Taye Diggs plays one of the films adversaries and is very accomplished in the role. 

"Equilibrium" provides an action packed movie, set against a dark backdrop. Its storyline is well thought out but is left unexplored by the characters themselves.  The questioning of who controls our world and the inner questioning of who we are and want to be feature in the film - leading to interesting discussion and thoughts.  "Equilibrium" combines both a clever plot with good action to culminate in to a great film.

M+F Rating: 7/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Brothers Movie Review

Brothers Movie Review starring Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman

Director: Jim Sheridan

Release Year: 2009

Running Time: 105 minutes

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire, Natalie Portman, Carey Mulligan

"Brothers" was based on a film directed by Susanne Bier known as "Brødre".  This American version however was directed by Irish director Jim Sheridan.  An interesting film that looks into the effect the war in the Middle East has had on one family. Undoubtedly "Brothers" brings out some excellent performances, certainly from Tobey Maguire who gives one of, if not, the best performance of his career.

Sam Cahill (Maguire) has a nice family, married to Grace (Natalie Portman) with two young daughters. He is in the Marine Corps and is often stationed in Afghanastan. Sam is respected by all, especially his parents.  However, his brother Tommy (Jake Gyllenhaal) is the total opposite.  A failure in life and just out of prison he comes back to the family causing rifts.  With Sam heading back out to Afghanistan, questions are answered on how difficult it is for families with loved ones who are serving in the military and ultimately the effect it can have on everyone involved with quite devastating and unpredictable outcomes. 

Movie review, rating, trailer and photos of Brothers

The storyline is interesting, because it involves real life situations.  It makes the film very relateable.  The flow of the storyline however, is rather ragged and dismantled.  This is to show how lives like this are in real life.  It is not easy for any person involved when a loved one is going out to fight for his country abroad.  The storyline in "Brothers" enables the viewer to construct their own thoughts on events and connects to them at an honest level.  The rough feel to the plot gives the movie an incredible sense of realness.  One discrepancy in the plot is that due to its non-flowing nature, if it was not for the excellent performance provided by those involved, there would be nothing linking scene to scene, or, relationship to relationship. 

Movie review of Brothers (2009)

The three leads in the film take full advantage of excellently thought out characters. Maguire shows a darkness in his depiction of Sam, something that has not been seen before by the former Spider Man actor.  Credit is thoroughly deserved for his role - the changes in personality he shows for what his character has been through make for excellent viewing.  Both Portman and Gyllenhaal back up Macguire's terrific performance with excellent portrayals themselves.  Both adding varying dimensions to their characters. 

"Brothers" is a solid film to watch.  However, we cannot help but think that without the great performances from the cast this film would have suffered.  There is no real climax to come by the end of the film and at certain points the plot becomes very predictable.  The film survives on the backbone of the strong performances provided by the lead cast members that make this film much better than average.

M+F Rating: 7/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Swordfish Movie Review

Swordfish Movie Review

Director: Dominic Sena

First Release Date: 8th June 2001 (US)

Running Time: 99 minutes 

Starring: John Travolta, Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, Vinnie Jones, Don Cheadle

"Swordfish" is a film that has a well known cast but upon its release the film garnered more press than usual due to the fact that it was the first film to feature Halle Berry nude.  A forced scene in what turns out to be a very disappointing and mediocre movie despite the lead roles of John Travolta and Hugh Jackman - both failing to add anything great to the film .

Stanley Jobson (Jackman) living in the Texan desert is visited by Ginger Knowles (Berry).  She asks him to meet her employer and ultimately wants Stan to use a computer - something he is unable to after being banned as one of the worlds most notorious hackers.  Persuaded by the desire to see his daughter again Stan goes to meet Gabriel Shear (Travolta) who is a wanted criminal by the FBI.  Stuck in the middle, Stan must do what he can to keep Gabriel from killing him and his daughter while trying to save the lives of others as the FBI closes in. 

Movie review, rating, trailer and photos of Swordfish

"Swordfish", even with its well known and acclaimed cast is a let down.  The story line is okay at best and despite some good twists at the end, they fail to improve the film in the slightest.  The twists do not have the desired effect that directer, Dominic Sena, would have wanted and imagined when making the movie.  The cast is also ineffective in making the film any better despite the success they have had in other films.

Jackman, looking very young and less muscular than how he is now - due to films like "The Wolverine" (2013), is very average in this thriller.  His character does not give him the opportunity to give a performance that is positive or impressive.  This goes for all of the cast.  Characters are not developed enough for them to make an impression on the audience.  Travolta's performance is below average and his character does not have enough dimensions that the viewers can explore.  Not enough story or context is provided on Travolta's character.  Whether they hold background information back to make the movie more mysterious or whether they wanted to focus on other aspects of the film, it really does limit the effect the film has.  

Swordfish movie review, trailer, rating and photos.

The one scene that attracted much media attention when this film was released was Berry's topless scene.  However, the scene does not fit into the film at all.  It is forced, pointless and really interrupts the flow of the movie. This scene could have covered other aspects of the story and provided more context.  Another disappointing aspect of "Swordfish" are the action sequences.  There are few of them in this action film and the ones that exist are very mundane.  

"Swordfish" is a below average film. The storyline is something that feels familiar and despite a few twists it is nothing special.  The acting is mediocre and definitely not what you expect from such a well known cast.  The topic of the film is the only saving grace as it is relatively interesting yet the storyline does not take advantage of this and focuses instead on different aspects.  Come the end of the film, frustration is at its highest as the opportunity is missed to make a really great film.

M+F Rating: 4/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Divergent Movie Review

Divergent movie review, trailer, photos and rating.

Director: Neil Burger

First Release Date: 20th March 2014 (Hong Kong)

Running Time: 139 minutes 

Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Jai Courtney, Zoe Kravitz, Miles Teller, Tony Goldwyn

"Divergent" has been billed as one of the biggest films of the year.  Starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James and Kate Winslet, the movie is based on the novel by author Veronica Roth, with the same name.  A highly entertaining and original movie despite its comparison to "The Hunger Games" (2012), "Divergent" provides action, thrill and it will certainly have your hear rate up a few notches throughout. 

Set in the future where much of the world has been ravaged by war, a city stands surrounded by 'the fence' to protect it from what lies beyond.  The city's population is divided into five factions based on personality traits; Selfless = Abnegation, Peaceful = Amity, Honest = Candor, Brave = Dauntless, Intelligent = Erudite. Each faction has their own role and job to fulfill for society.  As people grow up they take a test to determine what faction they are best suited for, although ultimately they can choose the faction they wish.  For Beatrice (Woodley) the decision is harder, her test is inconclusive, she is... divergent. 

Divergent movie review

"Divergent" is a thoroughly entertaining and action packed film. The storyline (for those who have not read the books) is gripping and will keep you engaged for the whole two hours nineteen minutes run time.  A large majority of the film is background information; setting the scene and contextual work.  This is not a complaint, the film needed it for certain aspects to make sense and fortunately the context setting itself is very interesting.  Once the film gets going it flies into full speed. The story twisting and maneuvering as much as the characters do. The increased injection of pace pushes the film to the next level with only short sections of scenes allowing you to catch your breath. 

The cast performances are very good - in particular Woodley and James.  The film also features Winslet in a villainous role, yet her screen time is short.  She does not appear much in the film and even though the short glimpses of her character, Jeanine,  prove to be evil and conniving,  it is a shame more of the character and Winslet are not shown.  Woodley steals the show, giving a magnificent performance displaying a range of skills that prove she is going to be a star of the future. James is also very good in the movie.  He gives a reassuring performance and is assertive in his portrayal of his character named Four. Both of them go well together on the big screen and that chemistry is vital in making the character interactions and relationships authentic.

Movie review of Divergent directed by Neil Burger

One interesting aspect of the film are the 'fear' sequences.  These are very integral to the movies plot and are good at keeping the film interesting and non-linear.  This is important, enabling the film to be tension filled to even those who have read the books.  "Divergent" is successful in creating a world that is intriguing and discoverable.  The film plays on emotional ties and the usual 'right vs wrong' idea.  The sense of wrong and evil taking over the good of humanity draw the audience in scene by scene.

The film is great and the sequels will now be hotly anticipated. Using unusual action packed scenes, "Divergent" offers an alternative action adventure film that can be enjoyed by young and older audiences from all over.  Woodley and James create an on screen presence which out rivals any other young actor combination at this present time in cinema.  A must watch for what is going to be another large and successful film franchise.

M+F Rating: 8/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Last Vegas Movie Review

Movie review, rating, trailer and photo of Last Vegas starring Freeman, Kline, De Niro and Douglas.

Director: John Turteltaub

First Release Date: 31st October 2013 (Hungary)

Running Time: 105 minutes 

Starring: Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Kevin Kline

"Last Vegas" brings together a well renowned cast to provide an entertaining and fun movie.  Some have claimed the movie is similar to "The Hangover" (2009) with an older cast yet "Last Vegas" proves to be something different altogether.  A warm feeling film and definitely a pleasure to watch, "Last Vegas" is directed by John Tuteltaub and features Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro and Kevin Kline. 

Billy (Douglas), Paddy (De Niro), Archie (Freeman) and Sam (Kline) have been friends since they were kids but now they are all old.  Archie, recently suffered a stroke and now cannot do anything due to his over protective son. Sam is bored of the Florida lifestyle and his marriage.  Paddy has become a recluse since the loss of his wife and Billy has never grown up.  He is about to marry a women younger than half of his age and tries to get his friend back together for a bachelor party in Las Vegas where these 'old-timers' show they still have got it.

Last Vegas movie review

 "Last Vegas" gives the audience a simple and easy to follow story line filled with comedy that is effortless and enjoyable. The film is rarely crude in its humour and even though it features some immaturity, overall it is a good movie experience. It offers good comedy from those involved who look like they are just making a movie and having a good time.  The storyline is honest but it keeps it fun.  We will all grow old one day and feel how the characters do in the film but as the message throughout portrays - it does not mean you have to stop enjoying yourself and that is a great message to take from the film. 

The film features a great cast of well known actors and it really is great to see them together in a film that is light-hearted and one that is not taken too seriously. You normally would see these actors as the stand alone star in their own film but by bringing them together you get a great mix.  For example putting De Niro's tough guy persona next to a more laid back and friendly personality of Freeman works incredibly well on the big screen. The interaction between the actors, the characters they portray and the setting of Vegas pays dividends for a film that had its doubters beforehand.

"Last Vegas" is a pleasantly enjoyable film for those who watch it. The script and story are easy to follow and the film is engaging enough for it to be a success. It is not the greatest comedy by a long shot, but it is excellent to see four actors show that they can still surprise the audience with their films and acting skills. It is very laid back and is a great film to watch on days where you are looking to kick back and relax.  

M+F Rating: 7/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.