Review – Sleeping With The Enemy

I’m a big Julia Roberts fan. I’ve seen a few of her films now, and I’ve enjoyed the majority of them. Sleeping With The Enemy was not really part of that majority though.

The film follows a woman who fakes her death in order to escape an abusive husband, but who ultimately makes enough mistakes to enable him to track her down in her new life. I liked the idea of the storyline – I think that had Roberts not have been front and centre in the film it would still have appealed to me because of this. As I was watching it, there were parts of the film that I think could have influenced other stories such as Gone Girl. I have to say though that I thought it could have been done better. There were certain elements of the plot that were a little too good to be true and worked too well in the favour of some characters. Now might also be a good time to point out that I didn’t find the ending to be very satisfying at all. I’d have preferred a more drawn out, more climactic final showdown that the one we got. What happened was a bit predictable for me – I’d have preferred something with more shock and awe to be honest.

This wasn’t my favourite Julia Roberts film, not by a long way. I don’t think there was anything that was majorly wrong with it, no crimes against film were committed, I just didn’t like it that much. Her character here was a far cry from Vivienne in Pretty Woman or Erin Brockovich in, well… Erin Brockovich. Instead, she was bit of a wet lettuce who you struggled to pull of the things she did. As for some of the other actors in the film… I haven’t got a clue who any of them were to be completely honest (all I know is the guy who plays Roberts’ husband here has recently made a prolonged appearance in Eastenders which tells you all you really need to know about him). Again, I didn’t think anything I saw was particularly stunning, but they were performances. I think I’ll leave it at that.

So those are pretty much all the thoughts I have on Sleeping With The Enemy. In short, I’d advise spending your time watching one of the numerous films similar to this but finished to a higher standard. This was rather average, and I think we all deserve better.

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Review – Chicago

I’m not a massive fan of musicals, but that didn’t seem to have much bearing on my thoughts on Chicago. For a while something had been drawing me to this film, but it was only recently that i got a chance to watch it.

The film follows murderesses Velma Kelly (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Roxie Hart (Renée Zellweger) as they attempt to escape the hangman’s noose. Velma is a veteran showgirl, while Roxie is a wannabe. Both hire Billy Flynn (Richard Gere), a hot-shot lawyer who has never lost a case, to get them off death row.

I thought the three lead performances were very impressive here. As far as I’m aware, everyone did their own singing and dancing here, and given some of the numbers throughout the film I was quite awe-struck by this fact. Zeta-Jones was devilishly good as Velma Kelly. You really got the impression that she was willing to do absolutely anything to be in the limelight. Zellweger was great as she took Roxie through the transition from bit of a no-hoper to someone who saw the full potential of the situation they were in and sought to exploit it. She blossomed into a character who was an apt rival to Velma and she knew it. Watching the pair trying to figure out how to get one over on each other was very entertaining, and definitely one of the main plus points of the film.

Richard Gere also fitted right in as Billy Flynn. He fancied himself as as a big as the likes of Velma which created an interesting dynamic. Gere captured the smugness and egocentricity of Billy perfectly, meaning there were three main character with huge personalities all fighting for centre stage. Terrific!

Chicago is a fully immersive film. It’s full of 1920s glitz and glamour and really enables you to lose yourself inside the story. There was a lot of attention to detail involved in the whole production, and it all paid off. The costumes, hair and makeup are fantastic, and the sets completely fit into the 1920s landscape. It’s such a visual feast, and as a result you’re never in any doubt about when these stories are taking place, and this works very well in the film’s favour.

The entire film was full of so many amazing scenes, however two stood out for me. The ventriloquism with Gere and Zellweger’s characters was awesome! This was another of those moments where the hair and makeup crew came into their element. They made Zellweger look like an actual puppet and I had thought they’d had a giant Zellweger ventriloquist dummy made. That’s how good it was. The second scene that blew my socks off was the final number where Velma and Roxie perform together. It was a great way to end the film, simple as.

All there is left to say really is that Chicago is an absolute knock-out. It really took me by surprise by how good it was. All of it’s elements work together in a wonderful symphony that truly is very well put together. I can’t remember what this film was up against at the Oscars in 2000, but I have to say that I think was probably well deserving of it’s Best Picture win.

Review – The Disaster Artist

A film telling the story of how possibly the worst movie ever made came to be sounds like it could be very entertaining. However, did any of us ever imagine it would be as good as this? I did nahhhhhhhhht.

Yes, The Disaster Artist sheds some light on how Hollywood hopefuls Greg Sestero and Tommy Wiseau (played by Dave and James Franco) found each other, and how their god-awful 2003 film, The Room, came to be. It had always showed promise, but what this film delivered was phenomenal.

The Franco brothers both put in what are very likely to be career-best performances so far. Dave was really cute as Greg – you completely bought into the idea that he was just a kid trying his luck. There was a strong happy-go-lucky vibe abut his character that meant you kind of expected him to get a break at some point.

Now, without casting too much of a shadow over Dave’s performance, let’s talk about James for a second. He was absolutely terrific as Tommy. Without a doubt he is the single element that takes this film to whole other level. Seriously… where the hell did this come from? I thought the likeness between him and the real Tommy was uncanny. As far as looks go, there was a bit of a difference, but in terms of tone of voice and mannerisms, if you didn’t know better I think you’d struggle to tell them apart at first. He really did stand head and shoulders above the rest of the cast here with his work – absolutely terrific!

I liked how selective the film was with the scenes of The Room it showed. I think it covered just about all of the most infamous scenes of the film, which I think has been key to the success of The Disaster Artist. I haven’t seen The Room myself, but knew about all of the scenes included here. Being based on the book that documented Sestero and Wiseau’s friendship and their making of The Room, I don’t know if this was a decision that was already made for the creators of this film, but if not I think some wise decisions were made.

Similarly, I think there is one very significant creative choice that should be noted as being genius here – the end credits. Who ever’s idea it was to show Wiseau and Franco’s scenes side-by-sideat the end should be championed. Again, we come back to Franco’s stonking acting, but also the attention to detail that film makers of The Disaster Artist had. The make up of each scene was virtually identical, making it feel like everyone involved truly felt something towards this project.

The Disaster Artist may well be a top contender for my Film Of The Year 2017. I’m really struggling to find any kind of a fault with this one. There were some quality performances put in by the actors and an astonishing amount of dedication to the project by everyone involved. There’s a lot that can be taken from this film, but if anything you should note that whatever you want is possible provided you are willing to do whatever it takes to get it. If all you get from watching The Disaster Artist is that message then it was worth seeing it, trust me.

Review – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

SO… I finally got to see Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Almost four months after first being reeled in by that glorious trailer, I made it my mission to catch the on it’s opening weekend here (apologies for the review taking this long), and oh my goodness, wasn’t it terrific!

For those of you who are yet to see the film, you should know that it is a dark comedy revolving around Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand), the mother of a murdered teenage girl. What basically happens is she rents three billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (spoiler alert) in the hope that might give the town’s chief-of-police (Woody Harrelson) a kick up the arse.

What I will say is that this film will not hit the spot with everyone. It is a great piece of film making, and I’m sure most people will appreciate that, but whether it will go down a storm with all of those same people I am not sure. Why is this? Well, it is writer and director Martin McDonagh at his best, meaning it features a lot of very dark comedy. Understandably, this is one of the things that I think has helped to separate the super fans of this film from everyone else. However, I loved it. The tone, for me, was bang on, and really helped to cut the tension and completely change the atmosphere whenever it was used. I also think that this was a device that helped to really show how reflective of real life the film was. After all, there are so many of the worst moments in life that have some very funny undertones, wouldn’t you agree?

I really can only sing the praises of the actors who took on the three main performances. Frances McDormand is fiercely brilliant as Mildred. I feel like she perfectly balanced all of the emotions that come together to form the basis of her character. She didn’t take any crap from anyone, but she was still hurting and was very vulnerable underneath, and McDormand’s performance made this immaculately clear.

Sam Rockwell put in a fantastic supporting turn, and just like many others, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him win an Oscar for his work here. In fact, I think I’d actually be surprised if he didn’t to be quite honest. He was so key in communicating what this film ended up being about for me, meaning he was a proper supporting actor, and not someone just given the title for the sake of it.

Even Woody Harrelson was on top form here besides only being around for the first half of the film. I don’t know what it is but there is always something in the characters Harrelson plays that I always love, and that remained very much the case here.

Now, I’ve listed a few things about Three Billboards that made the film work so well, but I’ve not really said anything about the thing that screamed out to me the most. To me, this is a very realistic, very human film. It tells ‘real people’ stories that all happen at the same time as they do in real life. It doesn’t create any clear heroes or villains either. To me, it was like being a visitor in the town as all these things were going on, and that was enough. I think to be able to reflect the real lives that could be happening all around you is something that many film makers try to do, but none have created anything that has resonated with me so much as McDonagh has managed here.

You’ve probably guessed it by now, but I would happily recommend Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri to just about anyone. It’s a massively human film that portrays all of it’s characters in a very realistic light, and also manages to make you feel just about all of the emotions they do, but also doesn’t fail to make you laugh either. I took one minor issue with it, but that really is just me being nit-picky – beyond that I’d struggle to find fault. Get out there and see it in cinema while you still can, people!

Review – Molly’s Game

A film I’ve had my eye on for a while now is Molly’s Game. This one takes a look at the life of ‘Poker Princess’ Molly Bloom, who made millions off the back of illicit poker games in LA and New York.

Well, I really liked it. Some of the thoughts I’ve seen haven’t been quite so complimentary towards this film, but while it had it’s flaws, none of these posed any major issue for me, which isn’t bad considering this is the directorial debut of Aaron Sorkin. I thought it told a great story about a woman who learned all she could about something and then made a life for herself out of it. Fair enough, as time went by, the dream fell apart a bit, but hopefully you get the gist of what I’m saying. If I’m completely honest, I personally found Molly’s Game as empowering, if not more so than Wonder Woman thanks to the film’s glorious protagonist.

Jessica Chastain is going to win an Oscar one day. Whether it’ll be for her performance as Molly Bloom, however, I’m not sure. She was delightful as the character, and I think she made it clear that the games were not about greed for Molly – at least, that wasn’t the sole motive. Chastain really humanised her and made it easy for you to not only like her, but to also admire what she achieved. I’d love to see some Academy recognition for her here, but I don’t think the film has had quite enough momentum behind it in order for her to get it.

Idris Elba actually played a blinder here as Charlie Jeffery. I say that as though I think the man’s a terrible actor – he absolutely is not. However, I don’t think he gets the same kind of quality roles on the big screen as he does on TV. With this film though, I think Elba put in what I suspect could very well be one of this year’s most underrated performances (an early shout, I know). He had some mega scenes as Charlie that showcased his talents superbly.

It was nice to see Kevin Costner back in a good film. I’ve got bit of a soft spot for the guy seeing as he played Robin Hood in one of my favourite childhood films. Him and Chastain shared one of my favourite scenes in the whole movie – one that has come under fire massively from some viewers. Yes, you have to question how he came to find Molly in New York as he did, but if you can get past that I think you can truly appreciate what a wonderful scene the two shared.

At the heart of this film is a fascinating true story. The mind boggles as to who some of the people involved in these games were. Some theories have emerged and I’ve a few suspicions of my own as to who may have taken part in Molly’s games, but part of the magic of this film is that the way it presents some of it’s characters does allow you to speculate quite a bit.

People who aren’t poker players (like myself) might fear that the film could go over their heads if it delves too deeply into the rules of the game. I didn’t find my lack of poker knowledge to be a huge disadvantage, although there was the odd scene where I got slightly lost. Nonetheless, I would urge you not to be put off if you think the same thing might happen to you – it really didn’t make much difference to my experience of the film.

I have to say that Molly’s Game is a winner for me. Chastain proves to us once again what a monster talent she is, and Elba gifts us with a dark horse performance. Both of these pair together to tell an intriguing story that held my attention from start to finish. Sorkin has done a wonderful job with his directorial debut, and I’d be very interested to see what he brings to us in future.

Bladerunner 2049 has me somewhat conflicted

A young blade runner unearths a secret which means he must track down one of his predecessors who has been missing for the previous thirty years.

Thirty years on from the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD officer K (Ryan Gosling) is forced to dig up the past after a secret is uncovered that has the potential to destroy what is left of society. He must put the matter bed, but before he can do that he must track down former blade runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) who he believes has some of the answers he needs.

Right, so… I finally made it to see Bladerunner 2049. I have to be honest and say that it was bit of a love/hate experience. There were parts of this film I wouldn’t change for anything in the world, however there are plenty of things that I disliked about the film, so this should be an interesting review.

I think we can all agree that it is high-time Ryan Gosling won an Oscar. He has been on form in the last few years but has received very little for his troubles. K was a character with a few different layers, and I think Gosling played him excellently. You definitely got a feel of the complexity behind his character, and so I’d say that this role is a real testament to Gosling’s capabilities. Can we also take a minute to appreciate his jacket wearing as well? The overcoat looked very well on him I must admit – made the almost 3 hour run time slightly more bearable.

It was nice to see Harrison Ford back in the saddle as Rick Deckard. I didn’t make it through the whole of the first film, but watched enough to get a feel for his character. The toll that the interim thirty years had had on him was fairly evident, and this helped things a lot as I felt it added some authenticity to the revival of his role. I think it would’ve been better had he have had a slightly more prominent role overall as he did take a while to show up, but then the film was very long so I guess they couldn’t burn him out straightaway.

So, I’ve passed comment a couple of times on the length of the film. It was way too long. Unnecessarily long. So many scenes, in my opinion, could have been kicked to the kerb completely. Did Jared Leto even really need to be in this film? I understand who his character was and the part he played in the grand scheme of things, but the scenes with him just didn’t really feel like they properly belonged here. There were a few other shots that I think could’ve been ditched as well, such as the multiple shots of the city – if I’ve seen it once, I don’t need to see it again, trust me. Others could’ve been sped up a bit too. The biggest problem for me was not only the length of the film but the numerous pacing issues it had. Had it not have been for this I’m sure the time would have passed slightly quicker.

Generally speaking, the story line was good. It was quite well put together and had a few twists that freshened it up from time to time. However, sometimes the twists got a bit too twisty and it felt like the narrative was trying to be too clever. This was worsened by the strands that felt like subplots because from my point of view they had little or no impact on the main story.

Of course, although I’ve bashed it quite a bit here, I cannot ignore the fact that as far as the technical elements of film go, this was a masterpiece. It was visually stunning – I loved the cinematography, the editing and the various colour palettes that were used throughout. The sound was also tremendous and complimented the film’s various tones brilliantly. I can confidently say that it looked amazing even if other parts of it fell short.

Overall, I’ve not quite made my mind up about how I feel about Bladerunner 2049. I think it’s going to be one of those films that requires a few watches before I can come to a more solid conclusion. Do I have it in me to sit and watch this marathon of a film again anytime soon though? I’m not sure. Don’t get me wrong, when it was good, it was really good. But when it wasn’t, I couldn’t really care less about it.

I watched London Has Fallen… bloody hell!


When the English prime minister dies, many of the world’s leaders gather in London to attend his funeral, only for the city come under siege from terrorists.
Following the mysterious death of British PM James Wilson, all leaders of the Western world must attend his funeral in London. Presidential bodyguard Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) sees the event as a huge risk, but President Ben Asher (Aaron Eckhart) has to go, so he must protect him. Just as predicted, the funeral goers come under fire from just about every direction and whatever plans they had for paying their respects go tits up. Many are killed, but one who is unaccounted for is the U.S. president.

I watched London Has Fallen, and it was laughably bad. The film was a cliche-ridden mess that took up almost two hours of my precious time and left me quite disappointed with a number of the actors who starred in it. I’m not entirely sure why I decided to inflict it on myself, but I did, and I’ve regretted it ever since.

If someone held a gun to my head and said I had to find one positive about this film, I’d say the cast. There are a few good actors in the film, although I do question my stance on them after seeing this. I didn’t particularly like any of the performances. All were very generic and kind of typical of every kind of film this was trying to be. I’ve come to the conclusion that Gerard Butler should do what Matthew McConaughey did around 2010 and just disappear for a few years. Let’s face it, he’s not been in anything that’s been worth watching for a long time, and given the next few films he’s going to star in, that doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon. His performance as Mike Banning was cringe-worthy at best, feeling more like every impression of John McClane that has ever been done.

The story had many downfalls. Where shall I start? Well, it ripped off so many other films for a start. It was also massively unrealistic. I know this is something that could be said for most action films but just hear me out for a second. What criminal or terrorist organisation do you know of that has a video game-style supply of bad guys? There was literally no end of them throughout the whole film. There were a number of other major issues besides this one, but I’ve done my best to forget about them.

Let’s just take a moment to discuss that glorious CGI before I wrap this one up. The effects used in this film have me convinced the every element of this production was competing against each other just to see what could be crowned the worst part of it. Had the explosions and helicopter crashes been the least bit convincing, London Has Fallen might just have been slightly bearable. However, they were not, and so I must pan them like I have done almost every other part of the film.

I will not be recommending London Has Fallen to anybody anytime soon. I would say the film was shite, but I fear that would be overselling it. Why does Hollywood think that this is what the world needs? On a brighter note though, I suppose we don’t need to worry about too many more of these films coming out for now because I think they only ever get made when the world likes the leader at the heart of the story. Anyway, those are my thoughts, shared with you guys so that you don’t have to endure the same experience I did with this film.