Showing posts with label Crime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Crime. Show all posts

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.

Friday, 28 March 2014

The Godfather Movie Review

The Godfather movie review

Director: Francis Ford Coppola

First Release Date: 24th March 1972 (US)

Running Time: 175 minutes 

Starring: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Richard S. Castellano

If you have not heard of "The Godfather" then you will have to question your love for films.  However, saying that, it has taken ourselves at M+F Reviews until 2014 to watch one of the most critically acclaimed movies of all time.  Admittedly this is poor on our part, yet it is a long film with a run time just short of three hours long, you certainly need a long evening to watch it. Classed and described as the film that changed cinema and reinvented ways that the mafia and mob are portrayed in films, "The Godfather" most definitely is the Godfather to these types of film. 

The film centers around the Corleone family in New York.  Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) is the Don of this crime family, which is one of five mafia crime families.  His youngest son, Michael (Al Pacino) insists he does not want anything to do with the family and its crime related antics and he in enlisted in the Marine Corps.  However, this soon changes when Vito is targeted by the rival families.  As the Corleone's face challenges to their power from all over they must use their wit to survive and remain on top. 

Movie review of The Godfather

One key aspect to the success of "The Godfather" are the characters.  The film is based on the novel also named The Godfather and a lot of credit has to be put down to this. However, we often seen adaptations of books on the big screen and they fail to live up to the expectation and prestige of how they appear in the book.  The good thing is, "The Godfather" is different from the norm. The presence of the characters on screen is spot on and there are no faults with them.  What's striking about the movie is the actors who play the characters are also an incredible match. You do not question them at all throughout the film. This is not just in reference to the main characters of the film like Vito and Michael but even down to the supporting cast, "The Godfather" excels. 

A film of this magnitude, of course has a superstar cast.  Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall and Diane Keaton to name only a handful. Each of these provide incredible authentic performances that match the feel of the film.  Whether they are portraying a more intelligent character like Al Pacino's Michael or whether it is one of his love interests Kay, played by Diane Keaton, they are superb.  The interlinking between the cast's characters is flawless and is a pleasure to watch.

Review, rating, trailer and photos of The Godfather

Even more impressive about "The Godfather" is the relatively slow paced rhythm to the film. Nothing is rushed, scenes are eased out and extended adding to whatever emotion or feeling is being felt or expressed at the time. It is this excellent directing and acting that really brings the movie to life. For a moment you are watching a film but it feels so real. The usual quick paced feel to a film is gone and you are living the events that occur in real time.

"The Godfather", which is now over forty years old remains a pinnacle in the film and movie industry.  It set up a benchmark which is hard for any film to match. Its influence can be seen in movies made all over the world. The directing, acting, characters, screenplay and dialogue mix together to make a film that is perfectly rounded.  It is entertaining, exciting and a pleasure to watch. A definite must for all film fans.

M+F Rating: 9/10


Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Casino Movie Review

Movie review of Martin Scorsese's Casino starring Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci

Director: Martin Scorsese

First Release Date: 22nd November 1995 (US)

Running Time: 178 minutes 

Starring: Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Sharon Stone, James Woods

"Casino" is a 1995 Martin Scorsese classic. The film has Scorsese written all over it from the script, screenplay and filming style used. Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci star is this highly entertaining and quick-witted movie. 

In a time where Las Vegas is ran by gang criminals, Sam 'Ace' Rothstein (De Niro) and Nicky (Pesci), work there way into the Las Vegas scene. The gang bosses can't go to Vegas themselves so use others to filter money out. With a changing job title to avoid getting caught, Ace is the effective owner of the Tangiers Casino and is successful at doing so. Nicky has his own way of doing things and with the FBI on the prowl and Ace's wife, Ginger (Stone) very unstable, the whole mob world starts to collapse around them both. 

Movie review, trailer, rating and photos of Casino movie.

The film blasts off and captures the audience straight away.  Within minutes, events in the film engage the audience.  The movie then plays through events that lead to the beginning scene before venturing past that event. Much of "Casino" is portrayed through voice-overs by the two main characters Ace and Nicky. This way of story telling works very well in the setting that Scorsese sets up.  By providing this explanation via narration from the characters themselves, it gives the movie an alternate dimension.  It gives them a chance to explain what they are doing and the reasons why.  This is needed in a film that is just shy of three hours long and features an extensive cast with many characters and interlocking plot lines.

It is impossible to argue that De Niro and Pesci do not carry the film. As always in Scorsese movies, the general cast are great but like with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill in the more recent "The Wolf of Wall Street" (2013), De Niro and Pesci steal the show.  Having worked with Scorsese before, both De Niro and Pesci were able to overcome the feel of familiarity and are able to make this film feel fresh and exciting.  It feels wrong to have an insight and to feel part of how the mob infiltrated Las Vegas yet so right at the same time. 

Martin Scorsese's Casino movie review

"Casino" features a great deal of violence which is at times over the top, however this is true to Scorsese's style.  Combined with the violence is the intricate story of ultimately three characters lives as they do living and at times this works well together but on the other hand they clash.  De Niro plays his character perfectly. Powerful yet so quiet and calm.  This portrays a character that holds an incredible screen presence. Pesci's character is rather different. Brash, tough and seemingly less clever, Nicky provides the more humorous scenes that make the movie even more enjoyable.

"Casino" is definitely a film that people can enjoy.  It may be a bit too graphic for some, however that does not make it a bad film by any means.  It is crafted cleverly in a way that makes an intricate movie through Scorsese's own special way of film-making.  It takes the time it needs to piece the whole plot and character sequences together without rushing any scene.  "Casino" is a great film which contains great dialect, characters and is thoroughly entertaining.

M+F Rating: 8/10


Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

American Hustle Review

American Hustle starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper Movie Review

Director: David O. Russell

UK Release date: 1st January 2014

Running Time: 138 minutes

Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner, Robert De Niro

One of the last years biggest films and one that won at the BAFTA's and was unlucky not to win at the Oscars was "American Hustle" from David O. Russel whose other work includes "Silver Linings Playbook" (2012) and "The Fighter" (2012).   Bringing in a star studded cast of actors, some of which he has worked before, "American Hustle" is an impressive, stylish and entertaining film on all levels.  The cast list includes Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner with Michael Pena and Robert De Niro in much smaller roles.

Irving Rosenfeld (Bale) is a hustler but he only hustles enough to not get in too deep.  Along with his partner Sydney Prosser (Adams), the pair are forced to team up with a crazy and practically out of control FBI agent, Richie DiMaso (Cooper) and end up coming head to  head with the Mafia and others in their plan to escape facing justice or even worse. 

American Hustle Movie Review

The whole film has a touch of class from the details portrayed, to the costumes, lighting, music and acting performances, it really is aesthetically pleasing to watch. O. Russell's vision is crisp and clear cut, making the movie engaging throughout.  The film oozes confidence and the on screen relationships works perfectly, leading to great individual performances.  

Of these, Bale stands out.  Boasting a pot-belly that is far from his usual look he does not just portray the character of Irving Rosenfield - he is Irving Rosenfield.  He is convincing, funny and relateable making it believeable that his character is someone who knows what they are doing while also feeling the frustration of having to listen to someone who does not know what they are doing, which in this case is Richie DiMaso. From the way he holds himself and the accent used, Bale really shows how good of an actor he is. 

The rest of the cast is also very impressive, albeit not in the same league as Bale.  Adams and Lawrence deliver two great performances that bring a different dimension to the film.  They bring stability and quirkiness to the scenes they appear in and particularly help in the twists that appear throughout the movie.  Likewise, Cooper and Renner, give honest performances that fit perfectly into the film.  Both particularly fit into the style of the film with there fashioned hair-dos.

America Hustle Movie Review

The soundtrack used for the film is also very impressive featuring songs from Duke Ellington and Electric Light Orchestra. One song by the latter is also the main theme for the movie and is one you will be purchasing afterwards.  The music fits in perfectly with each scene and especially in two scenes where charcters are singing along to the music track - it really adds to the movie, providing both comedy and realism.

"American Hustle" is definitely a must watch film.  From great acting and directing to set design and accompanying soundtrack, this movie has it all to bring a well rounded film to the big screen.  The dialect is interesting and the movie itself will keep you guessing right up to the end.  It was unlucky to come away from the Oscars empty handed but there is no shame when other excellent films like "The Wolf of Wall Street" (2013) also failed to pick up any awards.  It really does show the great depth of films that have ben produced in the last year.

M+F Rating: 8/10


Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

The Iceman Movie Review

The Iceman Movie Review

Director: Ariel Vromen

UK Release Date: 7th June 2013

Running Time: 106 minutes

Starring: Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, Ray Liotta, Chris Evans, James Franco

"The Iceman" was released in 2013 and  is the chilling true story of Richard Kuklinksi.  Kuklinski was a notorious contract killer who murdered over 100 people while his wife and children were unaware of his murderous work life.  The film depicts his story and follows his relationships with his bosses and his family.

In the film Kuklinski (Michael Shannon) is seen meeting and having to work for Roy Demeo (Ray Liotta) having previously met his soon to be wife Deborah Pellicotti (Winona Ryder). He seemingly does a good job of keeping his killing separate and secret from his family life until one day he makes a mistake.  Desperate for money, the stakes are raised as he tries to keep both of his lives separate and avoid being killed or caught by the cops. 

Michael Shannon as Richard Kuklinski in The Iceman
Richard Kuklinski (Shannon) in The Iceman
Photo courtesy of Millennium Entertainment


While watching this film be prepared - the story is very shocking.  Just the idea that a man could kill over 100 people and still hold down a normal family life for so long with them not having any idea is more than enough to send shivers down anyone's spine.  The true story of Kukinski is portrayed very well in the "The Iceman" but the standout aspect of the film is the acting.  Shannon delivers an incredible cold performance as Kuklinski and likewise Ryder gives a great performance as his wife, Deborah.  Liotta's role as Roy Demeo is average. It is a typical role to play for the "Goodfellas" (1990) star.  

More impressive was Chris Evans as Mr. Freezy and also David Schwimmer as Josh Rosenthal.  Both actors are unrecognizable and portray there characters very well.  Having these two in the film and with the addition of James Franco in a very short role really adds some weight the film.  The acting performances in the film really stand out and from this perspective the film is very good.

Chris Evans as Mr. Freezy in The Iceman
Mr. Freezy (Evans) in The Iceman
Photo courtesy of Millennium Entertainment

A problem with the film was that it makes the audience feel a certain way.  By the end of the film you feel an emotional tie with Kuklinski when really we should not, as quite clearly he was not a good person.  We sympathise with him and his situation by the end of the film.  We should really be symptahising with his victims, their families and his family who knew nothing about his actions.  This was one let down with the film as it made us feel something for a charcter that we did not want to feel.  Is this good film-making?  Of course, but is it the right way to portray a true story and one of this magnitude surrounded by so much death?

Overall, the film is an interesting one to watch.  Great performances from the majority of the cast make it a real pleasure to watch and it is good to see the lead in a film given to someone who is not as well known as others.  Shannon gives an inspiring performance and is backed up by the likes of Evans and Ryder.  One perfect way to describe this film is by The Guardians Peter Bradshaw who described it as "Zodiac meets Goodfellas." Unfortunately, "The Iceman" does not reach the heights of either of these films but it is by no means a disappointment. 

M+F Reviews: 7/10


Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Project X Movie Review


Movie review of Project X

Director: Nima Nourizadeh

UK Release Date: 2nd March 2012

Running Time: 88 minutes 

Starring: Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper, Jonathan Daniel Brown, Kirby Bliss Blanton

We were told to watch "Project X" at a time that we would be able to go out ourselves afterwards.  This consensus was popular from those who we spoke to about the film - it is a film that will make you want to party.  Having watched the film we can understand this opinion but overall thought the film was very average.

"Project X" follows three school friends who plan a house party while one of them, Thomas Kub's (Thomas Mann) parents are away celebrating there anniversary. Thomas himself is worried about the party but encouraged by hist friends Costa (Oliver Cooper) and JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown) the party gets going and as with usual teenage parties, one thing leads to another.  Drugs, sex, music and destruction entail and not much is left to the imagination. 

JB, Thomas Kub and Costa in Project X

In a film sense - this is not a great film.  Publicized as a comedy, it rarely is funny from the script or actions that happen.  The acting is far from good and in places verges on terrible but this can be expected from a cast that is pretty much unknown to us before watching.  This along with a poor script really makes this film disappointing from the perspective of a film fanatic.  However, we still joyed watching it.

As we said, the script is poor and the acting is nowhere near solid but by the end of the film you feel part of the party in a way - as if you had your own special invite.  At the end of the day, it is the house party to end all house parties.  What goes wrong does go wrong and then even more goes wrong on top of that.  This is where the film can be slightly entertaining.  As the film and story develop you try to guess what is going to  happen next and to be fair, the director, Nima Nourrizadeh, does well in keeping ideas fresh in this department albeit extreme.  

Overall "Project X" is an okay film at best. Yes, it is entertaining and you do think to yourself 'wow, this is on crazy house party' but at the end of the day the film itself is going nowhere and is pretty poor. This topped with the poor acting and unknown cast makes this film pretty average. Having said that, it is still a film we enjoyed and it did evoke emotions in us in regards to wanting to go out with our friends and have fun.  It is a film that all should watch, whether you are a party animal or not, it is fun and very basic but do not expect to be blown away.

M+F Rating: 5/10


Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

2 Guns Review: Never Rob a Bank Across From a Diner With the Best Donuts in Three Counties

Movie review, rating and trailer of 2 Guns

Director: Baltasar Kormakur

UK Release Date: 16th August 2014

Running Time: 109 minutes

Starring: Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Paula Patton, Bill Paxton, Edward James Olmos

"2 Guns" is a thoroughly enjoyable action film that is filled with easy action comedy that flows throughout.  Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg star as Bobby and Stig respectively.  Director Baltasar Kormakur previously known for "Contraband" (2012) among others, does a good job in keeping the film lighthearted and entertaining for all to watch.

The plot follows Bobby and Stig, who are both undercover agents working for different agencies who are unaware that the other is also undercover.  They happen to get caught up and involved in the robbery of over $40,000,000 and the film follows the actions they take to survive and get the money back.  CIA coverups, drug cartels and bank robberies all feature providing plenty of action and events to follow during the film.

Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg in 2 Guns

The film is good generally but is not a film you would consider one of the best.  The on screen presence and chemistry of both Wahlberg and Washington works very well and is enjoyable to watch especially for the more comical parts of the film.  Washington is solid as always.

We do find ourselves becoming bigger and bigger Wahlberg fans and this role suits him very well as he combines his action side from films like "Shooter" (2007) with his comedy side displayed in films like "The Other Guys" (2010).  In a sense, "2 Guns" can be seen to be a more serious version of "The Other Guys". There is comedy in the film, which is encouraging as otherwise it would be very bland.  It adds an extra element to the film which is heavily based on action scenes. 

The film is definitely a good watch and is no where near a disappointment.  Easy, fun and enjoyable but it does lack a really penetrating storyline that stops this movie becoming one of the classics.  It won't be one that you will remember for a long time but it does not stop this film being one that you could watch over and over again.  A solid film. 

M+F Rating: 7/10


Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Monday, 10 February 2014

The Big Lebowski Review: Dude, Dudeness, Duder or El Duderino

Review of The Big Lebowski

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

UK Release Date: 1st May 1998

Running Time: 117 minutes

Starring: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Turturrow


"The Big Lebowski" is one film that you will have to watch again.  This comedy crime movie is certainly one that is difficult to get your head around with a first time viewing but is very entertaining nonetheless.  At the time the film received relatively positive reviews but has now become a cult classic and it is no wonder why. Directed by the Coen Brothers and starring Jeff Bridges and John Goodman in character roles that suit them down to the ground, there is not much that "The Big Lebowski" has wrong with it.  
The Dude, Donny and Walter played by Jeff Bridges, Steve Buscemi and John Goodman respectively
The Dude, Donny and Walter in The Big Lebowski
'The Dude' (Bridges) is a lazy stoned bowler and shares the same name as Jeff Lebowski, a multimillionaire. He soon gets caught up in a number of kidnappings, mishaps and fights as he does his best to keep living his usual life while trying to make some money off his situation.  With help from Walter (Goodman) the film provides plenty of odd scenes that will have you scratching your head.

The characters in "The Big Lebowski" are great. Bridges and Goodman suit their characters perfectly and could actually be them.  A great on screen chemistry between them really makes it a pleasure to watch.  The two are backed up by Donny (Steve Buscemi) who although does not have a major role does provide an alternative edge of comedy.  There are some classic scenes featuring Jesus (John Turturrow) which will have you laughing a lot.  This character and Turturrow's acting really does add a lot to the film.

John Turturrow as Jesus in the Big Lebowski
John Turturrow provides great comedy in The Big Lebowski
One thing that makes this film a great watch is the dialect used. There were two things in this regard that stood out; quirky one-liners and intelligent conversation.  The film has both.  One of the reasons that is has become so popular is that it is easily quotable. One of Goodman's lines repeats throughout - 'Shut the **** up, Donny.'  He must say it at least 5 times throughout and by the last time you even start saying it with him.  It really works well.  Not only that, "The Big Lebowski" also features great scenes of intense and clever dialect and conversations which are engage-able for the audience. It really is a spectacle for to see both of these work in one film.  

The Coen Brothers also deliver fanatstic dream sequences that are tantalising to watch. Hypnotic, beautiful and completely wacky scenes both add to the aestetics of the film and also the confusion.  "The Big Lebowski" is a good film to watch but you will finish watching it the first time thinking, 'What was that?'  However, just writing this review and thinking about the film it is becoming clear as to why it is a fan favourite and also why it has become a cult classic.  We recommend that you watch "The Big Lebowski" and advise that you watch it many times afterwards as well. 

M+F Rating: 7/10


Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

We're the Millers Review: Not Much To Say

Review of We're the Millers starring Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston

Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
 
UK Release Date: 23rd August 2013
 
Running Time: 110 minutes
 
Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Emma Roberts, Will Poulter, Ed Helms
 
 
"We're the Millers" is a comedy film directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber who also directed the comedy film "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story" (2004).  "We're the Millers" centres around David Clark (Jason Sudeikis) a drug dealer turned drug smuggler.  He requires and assembles a fake family consisting of Rose O'Reilly (Jennifer Aniston), Casey Mathis (Emma Roberts) and Kenny Rossmore (Will Poulter) to help him smuggle drugs across the border.  Obviously as a comedy, things do not quite go to plan.
 
From a comedic standpoint the film is okay. Yes, it provides some unique laughs but generally it is what you would expect; easy comedy that has been seen before.  The story and plot are very predictable which is a disappointment but is generally expected with these sort of films.  The cast is okay, Sudeikis is average and unfortunately Anniston not great.  The film seemed to be more geared towards her being in as few clothes as possible.  Poulter and Roberts were also average playing characters that limited what they could do as actors.
 
Family photo from We're the Millers.
 
There is a good story there - it just was not developed enough for this to be a classic comedy film.  It seemed to be very childish and silly in certain scenes which was at times unbearable to watch.  There were some characters that were funny but again this was very limited and did not add a great deal.  So much more could have been done and the whole storyline seemed as if it needed a touch up or some extra work.
 
This is an okay film but as it is a comedy it can get away with this.  It is easy enough to watch and does not require much attention or challenge the audience at all.  It won't be a film that stays in your mind for a long time but you will laugh at some of the scenes and this makes it something that should be watched.  The story is different from most comedies although it does follow the usual core storyline of all comedies. 
 
M+F Rating: 6/10
 

 
Reviewed by M+F Reviews
 

Friday, 7 February 2014

Snatch Review: Entertaining But Familiar

Review and rating for Guy Ritchie's Snatch
 
Director: Guy Ritchie
 
UK Release Date: 1st September 2000
 
Running Time: 104 minutes
 
Starring: Bard Pitt, Vinnie Jones, Jason Statham, Benicio  
Del Toro
 
An ensemble cast feature in a typical Guy Ritchie film that is both entertaining and light-hearted.  Situated between "Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" (1998) and "RocknRolla" (2008), the film follows the usual British-crime-comedy theme that many of Ritchie's films happen to take.  "Snatch" is fun to watch but does repeat much of what we have seen of Ritchie's work before. 
 
Ritchie uses a large cast whose stories intertwine and mix up throughout.  Bookmakers, robbers, boxing promoters and gangsters all cross paths to look for a very sought after stolen diamond.  The film is similar in ways to "Pulp Fiction" in that different storylines cross over throughout although it can be said there is more of a link between the characters in "Snatch".  It is a good film that is easy enough to watch however the dialect may drive you mad especially if you watch the film in the same time period of watching one of Ritchie's other films.
 
Jason Statham, Brad Pitt and Stephen Graham in Snatch
 
One interesting aspect of the film was Brad Pitt.  He played the character Mickey O'Neil and fashioned a very strong, nearly unrecognisable Irish accent.  Now the accent is that strong that even the audience have struggled to understand what he was saying however if you can get your head around it, it is quite an impressive performance.  Fresh off his work on "Fight Club" (1999) Pitt showed that he can literally play any character and the accent provides a handful of jokes throughout the whole of the film. 
 
Vinnie Jones and Jason Statham were picked by Ritchie again to be cast in this film and maybe this is another area where similarities can be drawn from Lock Stock.  Both  of the actors starred in that film and arguably it shot them up in the world of film and movies.  It is difficult to see them differently in a film that is so similar in its storyline and direction.
 
All in all, "Snatch" is a very enjoyable film.  It certainly is entertaining and provides scenes that will make you laugh.  However, if you have seen some of Guy Ritchie's other films you will notice that they are nearly identical in the story line, with it only being applied in a different way.  Make sure you look out for Pitt's superb accent as it is one of the highlights of the film.  Let us know your own thoughts - did it work for you? Or was it to similar to Lock Stock?
 
M+F Rating: 7/10
 



Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Kick-Ass 2 Review: Does it Kick-Ass?

Kick-Ass 2 Logo
 

Director: Jeff Wadlow
 
UK Release Date: 14th August 2013
 
Running Time: 103 minutes
 
Starring: Aaron-Taylor Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Jim Carrey, Christopher Mintz-Plasse


So I am sure this question is on your lips 'Does "Kick-Ass 2", kick ass? It is a difficult question to answer and there is a lot more baggage to this film compared to most. The original "Kick-Ass" (2010) was directed by Matthew Vaughn but for the second instalment, Jeff Wadlow was the director.  With Nicholas Cage's character, Big Daddy, having died in the first film, in came movie star Jim Carrey - which I am sure the guys behind the film would hope boost interest and tickets sales for the film.

Kick-Ass and The Motherfucker
 
Aaron-Taylor Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz and  Christopher Mintz-Plasse reprise there roles as Dave Lizewski/Kick-Ass, Mindy MaCredy/Hit-Girl and Chris D'Amico/The Motherfucker respectively.  Jim Carrey also features as Colonel Stars and Stripes. The cast makes the film enjoyable to watch.  They seem to git their characters well and generally the characters were good for the story.  Personally, we are not too sue what Carrey adds to the film.  His role was not major and he did not feature that heavily - we think it could have been done without him. That being said, it was still good to see him - although the accent he used for the role is something else totally.

Unfortunately for the film and all those involved, Carrey withdrew his support for the film before it was released. He withdrew his support after news broke about the Sandy Hook massacre. It is understandable from the actor who is an advocate for gun control measures and violence but does make us wonder why he was involved in the first place, an opinion shared by the writer of the comic book, Mark Millar.  As you know from the original "Kick-Ass" - they are slightly different from the usual comic book turned film.  It features a lot more death, blood and swearing which in the first film worked very well, however we feel it did not have the same effect second time round.
 
Jim Carrey as Colonel Stars and Stripes
 
There were a few instances where we found the film to be overly 'offensive.' Now we do not mean that we were offended - just that there were times that we felt things were done or said that did not add anything and did not need to be there.  Having said that we still enjoyed the film and there is lots of action, fighting and a good few laughs along the way as well.  We do not think it was as good as the first but would like to see a third instalment some point in the future.
 
M+F Rating: 7/10
 
Kick-Ass 2 Movie Trailer:
 


 
Reviewed by M+F Reviews.


Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Runner Runner Review: Potential Wasted

Brad Furman's Runner Runner
 
Director: Brad Furman
 
UK Release Date: 27th September 2013
 
Running Time: 91 minutes
 
Starring: Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake, Anthony Mackie, Gemma Atherton
 
 
Brad Furman's "Runner Runner" was a film that was much anticipated. Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck combine in this poker movie however our anticipation soon turned to disappointment.  We will run through what we liked and disliked about Runner Runner (excuse the pun).
 
The idea behind the film is solid.  The story line was good and probably the best thing about the film. Unfortunately though, it did not convey onto the big screen very well.  If you have seen the film "21" (2008) then you will understand that films can be made about card games and can be successful.  This film is not one of them.  Runner Runner begins with Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake) playing poker to try and win enough money to pay his college fees. He fails and believes he has been cheated by the site.  He goes onto challenege the owner of the business, Ivan Block (Ben Affleck). Block takes Furst on and into his business but all is not what it seems when the FBI, headed by Agent Shavers (Anthony Mackie), turns up and accuses Furst of illegal activities.
 
Justin Timberlake Ben Affleck
 
This is where the film broke down for us.  It turned so far away from being a film about poker it started trying to be something else.  It was a shame as we believe if it had stayed more focussed on the game of poker it would have been better.  With the FBI involved and Furst caught in the middle between them and Block a situation arose that we have seen to often in films; the innocent caught between the bad and the good but cannot do the right thing due to the circumstances.
 
If you saw the cast list before you watched the film you may be quite optimistic.  Affleck, Timberlake and Mackie were joined by Gemma Atherton for the film.  It is safe to say that all of the performances were below par and this is easily one of the worst movies Justin Timberlake is in. However, his own performance was one of the highlights.  The singer-turned actor-turned singer is likeable on screen and plays the innocent role well.  There is something about him that we could relate to. 
 
After "Argo" (2012), Affleck looked unstoppable but this was not a great performance by him. Maybe the character was wrong and not suited for him but he certainly did not look comfortable on screen and this was a disappointment.  Mackie also did not suit the character. Playing a frustrated FBI agent, who you questioned how legal he was, Mackie did not perform to the standards he set in "The Adjustment Bureau" (2011).  We felt Atherton did contribute much to the film.
 
Runner Runner was disappointing, especially when you consider the cast and the potential the storyline has. It is still worth watching so you can develop your own opinion. Timberlake makes it easier to watch and is probably the only substantial highlights when watching the film.
 
M+F Rating: 5/10

Trailer for Runner Runner


 
 
Reviewed by M+F Reviews
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Prisoners Review: Are we all Trapped?


Director: Dennis Villeneuve
 
UK Release Date: 27th September 2013
 
Running Time: 153 minutes
 
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Terrence Howard, Paul Dano
 

Prisoners is a chilling crime thriller that was released in 2013.  Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhall star and both give incredible performances making this film a superb watch.  Director Dennis Villenueve could not have done much more to make this film more thrilling or gripping throughout.
 
The film is about the disappearance of characters Keller Dover (Jackman) and Franklin Birch (Howard) two young daughters on Thanksgiving. However the film centres around Dover's reaction to the apparent kidnapping and the toll it takes on him, his wife and their son.  While Detective Loki (Gylenhaal) does his best to find the missing girls, Keller takes things into his own hands by kidnapping the number one suspect, Alex Jones (Dano).
 
 
 
The film is full of suspense and will keep you guessing right up until the end.  An extremely powerful performance from Jackman makes this film stand out from others like it.  Rarely has he been seen to display such raw emotion and it is a pleasure to see.  The film is backed up by an ensemble cast where Gyllenhaal also puts in a great performance to add to the depth of the films characters.
 
This film is not just about the two girls being kidnapped and being considered as prisoners but it shows how in a situation like this everyone is a prisoner.  The families of the missing girls are lost to their emotions - Keller's wife, Grace (Bello) deals with it by taking sleeping pills and is a prisoner to her room.  Keller himself becomes prisoner to his demons while Detective Loki is a prisoner to his past.
 
Similar in ways to Zodiac (2007), Prisoners is an excellent film. Even if you are not a fan of thriller or crime films this film is worth a genuine watch.  Impressive performances by all those involved and directed perfectly, Prisoners offers an exhilarating storyline with scenes that will make you be on edge of your seat for many different reasons.
 
M+F Rating: 8/10 
 



Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Machine Gun Preacher Review: Truth or Critical Response?

 

Director: Marc Foster
 
UK Release Date: 2nd November 2011
 
Running Time: 129 minutes
 
Starring: Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan, Michael Shannon
 

Machine Gun Preacher is a film based on the real life of Sam Childers.  Gerard Butler stars as Childers and the films title is a true reflection on what the film is about.  In short, Childers was a biker who recently released from prison, is hooked on drugs and alcohol. However he turns his life around after finding Christianity with his wife and goes on to save the lives of children in South Sudan against the Lord's Resistance Army.



Butler plays the role in a convincing manner having that 'biker-ish' look and was able to stand out in the film as the lead.  The other characters all pop in and out throughout with no one in particular standing out impressively. What is portrayed very well in this film is the emotions between characters and between wanting to something good while not having the money or resources to do so. Butler does a great job and you can really feel the emotions he is having when torn between helping the children in South Sudan and leaving his family behind which causes his relationships with his wife and daughter to suffer.

Critically the film was not a success and at the box office it flopped. Here at M+F Reviews we believe that the audience can take a different meaning away from the film rather than just whether we enjoy watching it or not.  Obviously most of us watch films or go to the cinema to have a good time but with this film the true story of Sam Childers is a difficult one to like and there are a few reasons as to why.
  1. Sam Childers was a drug addict and alcoholic and although he found Christianity it can be difficult for the audience to associate with a character linked to taboo subjects.
  2. The topic centres around the problems in South Sudan where the Lord's Resistance Army were attacking and killing innocent civilians.  Like Hotel Rwanda (2004), this topic/subject is difficult to enjoy watching. 
Due to these two factors the content is overlooked and other aspects are examined under increasing pressure leading to bad reviews critically.  However, the film tackles real issues and troubles and should be applauded for this and its efforts to bring it to a larger audience.  It is obviously an ongoing problem in our world from the Holocaust, to genocides in Rwanda, Sarajevo, South Sudan and in current times, Syria.  Problems portrayed in this film are still ongoing and more needs to be done to get the word out for support and film is a great medium for this. 

This however takes us into another dimension - truth in film.  Can truth be portrayed in film or does the fact that huge budgets and pressure to receive good reviews critically override and alter the truth?  This film focusses on the positive - Childers turns his life around to help save children who are suffering - however reports have surfaced about Childers story.  Questions have been asked as to whether his story is true and reports have surfaced on how well looked after the children are that have been saved by Childers.  The fact that the truth is somewhat being questioned makes it even more difficult.  However, director Marc Foster has interpreted the story for the big screen and while some parts of the story may not be true - the film does convey a message and this consists of truths. 

Although Machine Gun Preacher suffered badly at the hands of the critics it is definitely a film people need to watch.  It addresses world issues that cannot be ignored and the fact that it can be shown through film is great as it means these issues can reach a wider audience.
 
M+F Rating: 7/10



 
 
Reviewed by M+F Reviews.