Review – 50/50

50/50 is another of those films that I’ve heard a lot of people say good things about, and also one that I’ve had recommended to me more than once.

The film is about a guy who gets diagnosed with cancer in his 20s and is given a 50/50 chance of survival. On the surface, it sounds like a somewhat depressing watch, but the story is told in a way that is actually very entertaining, and because of this it feels very authentic too.

I really loved the performances from Joesph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen in this. Gordon-Levitt played cancer-fighting Adam brilliantly. He captured a whole range of emotions with his performance. Rogen played his best friend Kyle, who I believe was supposed to represent Rogen himself in the film, which is based on one of his real-life friends. Both actors were really great on their own, but when they were together on screen, whether in their scripted scenes or the more impromptu stuff, together they took it to a whole other level. You were watching best friends going through hard times, not two people pretending to be buddies, and that was a key element in making this film as good as it was.

I’ve already touched upon how realistic this film felt. While it had it’s fair share of down moments, it wasn’t too dark overall. At the same time, it didn’t try to be laugh-a-minute – I think the tone of the film was just right, which is another reason why it felt so real. Every situation in life is made up of many elements no matter what it is, and often when these are portrayed on-screen, especially when showing real-life events, the tendency can be to depend more heavily on one of those elements. I don’t feel like at any given point 50/50 played up too much to the happy or the sad parts of the story. It just took everything as it was, and didn’t make it any more than it needed to be, which was very true to the nature of our protagonist here (does that make as much sense to you as it does to me?). I’m also pleased to say that, for once, I’m glad the film had a happy ending, which I think stands testament to how it portrayed it’s lead character and his situation.

On the whole, I’d definitely say you should give 50/50 a go. It’s a film about so much more than a guy with cancer, and everyone who watches it will be able to relate to it in some way or another, which is why you should see it.

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Review – The Shape Of Water

Probably one of this year’s most talked about and most hotly anticipated awards season films is The Shape Of Water. It’s a film that I hadn’t been too fussed about seeing initially, but one thing led to another and I ended up going to see it anyway.

Well, AREN’T I GLAD THAT SUCH A FORTUNATE SERIES OF EVENTS OCCURRED AND I DECIDED TO GIVE IT A SPIN! What a wonderful film it turned out to be! Very moving, surprisingly funny and gloriously original. I can’t quite believe that I almost gave this one a miss.

Perhaps what had put me off seeing this film was the premise. Essentially, it follows a woman who falls in love with a merman. Any regular visitors may know that I am not a hopeless romantic, hence why this wasn’t a film that popped up on my radar. However, I did feel that, for the most part, The Shape Of Water wasn’t dead soppy with the way it portrayed any of the relationships in the film, and I can’t complain about that one bit.

i really loved the some of the performances in the film, and also what a golden bunch of characters was featured. Sally Hawkins is delightful as Eliza. There was something about her performance that meant it was just really lovely to watch. The pairing of her and Octavia Spencer’s very chatty character was genius, and I think the two really brought out the best in each other on-screen.

Michael Shannon plays a good bad guy, I’ll give him that. There were countless times where I thought he just absolutely owned the role of Richard Strickland. I actually despised his character, and that was a wonderful feeling to have. To put it simply, he was a nasty man with an agenda, and Shannon played it brilliantly. Loved it!

No matter what you think of this film, you can’t deny that it is original. Writer and director Guillermo Del Toro does what I believe he’s quite famous for by now by treating us to a story that is rather like an adult fairytale. It is a superbly fantastical with some romance, friendship and a bit of violence and brutality thrown in for good measure. It’s a real mix, but nothing that’d be a far reach from anything that any of us would’ve had read to us as kids I don’t think. It was definitely very different, and I liked that about it very much.

So, after enjoying The Shape Of Water far more than I had expected to, it would seem that all I can do is sing it’s praises. I loved the characters and the performances that went into bringing them to life. There was terrific variety in what I got to see in the film too, and as for originality – well, this ticks all the boxes on that front for me. The Shape Of Water gets a solid recommendation from this girl at least.

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.

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.

This film ain’t Filth


A corrupt, drug addicted cop with mental health issues attempts to beat his colleagues to a promotion in a bid to win back his wife and daughter.
Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy) is a bent copper who is up for a promotion, and he will stop at nothing to ensure he gets it. One by one, he singles out his competition and finds a way he can get them all to jeopardise their chances of success. The reason for his desperation to come out on top is that his wife and daughter left him, and he believes that this is the way to win them back. However, slowly but surely, all the secrets he’s exposing come back to haunt him, and Bruce risks losing himself in the web he’s spun.

Filth is a film that has been on my radar for a while. I remember reading rave reviews when it came out, and a lot of people I know have really enjoyed it. It made me laugh a lot, and while I wasn’t entirely sure what exactly to make of the film for the first half, by the time it had finished, I was very happy I’d watched it.

Where is James McAvoy’s Oscar at? Not only for this film, but for a few he’s been in. He’s a wicked actor, and quickly becoming a favourite of mine. He was phenomenal as Bruce, and it was evident where some of the inspiration for his role(s) in Split had come from. I loved how unhinged he was. You never knew what was coming next, and I think this made his performance so much more authentic than if he’d have been down all the time. His energy levels varied constantly and it really was brilliant to watch. McAvoy headed up a really great cast, actually. He was joined by Imogen Poots, Emun Elliott, Gary Lewis, Jim Broadbent, and a favourite of mine from Ray Donovan, Eddie Marsan. Altogether, it was a knockout line-up that made for a bunch of performances that were terrific to watch.

The humour that is heavily drizzled all over this film is very funny and very dark, which is another reason I enjoyed the film so much. There were countless times I couldn’t breathe for laughing that hard. It was exactly my sense of humour (which if you didn’t know involves getting the giggles over a lot of things that a person really shouldn’t get the giggles over), and it was fairly unrelenting. There never seemed to be a very long dry spell in between the laughs, and even then the drama or the story thrived anyway. The actual narrative was one that was quite interesting, and I think it made a few little twists and turns that I can’t say I saw coming. It also combined all the things that were tormenting Bruce and was able to present them to you in a way where it all kind of came to head at same time as it did for our protagonist. This is a film that has been very well done, and I can see now why a lot of people loved it so much.

On the whole, I can only recommend Filth to you. It was a very dark comedy with a bit of the more dramatic material thrown in for good measure. The two elements came together in a way that I think has been the best I’ve seen in a while, striking a good balance in an intriguing story that is told by an awesome lead performance. If you’re yet to see this, do something about that as soon as you can, because as far as I’m concerned, you’re missing out.