Deliverance is a good film, but not my thing


Four adventurous businessmen intent on seeing the Cahulawassee River before it is turned into a huge lake take a canoe trip into the American backcountry, only for their excursion to take a deadly turn.
Four urban businessmen bound for wilderness take a trip into the country for a weekend canoe trip on the Cahulawassee River. It turns out to be everything they had hoped for – a terrific adventure – but soon enough they run into a couple of rednecks, and the trip takes a turn for the worst. Over the course of a few hours, the men are exposed to the true extent of what man and nature are capable of, putting their lives at risk, and making their little vacation one that none of them shall ever forget, no matter how hard they try.

A film that my dad has been on at me to watch for a while is Deliverance, so this weekend I finally got round to doing that. There were some good performances, and some great cinematography during the rapids sequences, but the film, while being a classic and held in very esteem by many people, isn’t my favourite of all the films that my dad has recommended to me.

As I’ve just mentioned, there were a couple of good performances in this film, and my favourite came from Jon Voight who played Ed. We got to see his character make a real transition from the start of the film right up to the end, and the change that Voight’s performances underwent in accordance with this was brilliant. I always enjoy watching Voight after becoming a fan of his work as Mickey in the series Ray Donovan, so I had no qualms about watching him here, in fact, he was one of the big plus points for me. 

I did like the story, and I think what worked best for it was the fact that it was so simple. It was not guilty of trying too hard, and combined with the performances that lay at the helm of this film, plus the wonderful shots of the more wild landscapes, it was pulled together nicely and made for a good watch. I have also read that Deliverance is considered to be one of the most disturbing films of all time, and I can see where the people who have said that are coming from. What makes this film so impactful is the heightened possibility that something along the lines of what took place here could happen in real life. There was just a very strong sense of realism surrounding the storyline and the events that took place that I think have a tendency to hit audiences hard.

Of course, I did state that this is not my favourite of the films that my dad has recommended to me. However, it’s not for what was wrong with it, I simply think that is was not my thing. I thought it was a good film, and some aspects of it were done very well indeed, but it just wasn’t the type film that was my cup of tea.

All in all, Deliverance was a film that, despite being as unsettling as it was, was also an enjoyable watch. It may not completely float my boat for some reason, but I can still say that this is a film you should consider watching if you haven’t yet seen it. There are some cracking performances and a very believable story that make for more than decent viewing, even if like me, you may not be in a hurry to experience again. 

Green Room gets the green light


After witnessing a murder at a new-nazi skinhead bar, a punk rock band has to fight for survival.

Pat (Anton Yelchin) takes his punk rock band, The Ain’t Rights, to a night club in a bid to take them one step closer to their big break. They aren’t quite as well received as they had hoped, but their little tour takes a much more grisly turn when they walk back into their dressing room to discover a body with a knife sticking out of it’s head. What follows is a major struggle to escape the clutches of the bar’s owner, Darcy Banker (Patrick Stewart) as he seeks to take out the only witnesses to the brutal murder and eliminate all traces of what happened in the club that night.

Last year, Green Room hit cinemas and was greeted by a lot of very good reviews, so when I got the DVD after Christmas I was very eager to see the film. However, it is only now that I have been able to finally watch it. Was it worth the wait? Yes, but that’s not it say that it didn’t have it’s faults.

As one of those survival-type films, there is of course a real opportunity for some great performances to emerge, but also for some very, very bad ones to rear their heads as well. Thankfully, I did enjoy the key performances here, which makes a change for a film with elements of horror. Anton Yelchin was brilliant to watch, and reminded us of a talent that was lost way too soon, however I think my favourite person in this film has to be Imogen Poots as Amber. She and Yelchin worked really well together, and I thought this showed as their characters came together in order to try and get out alive. What was the best thing about Poots here though was the fact that she was able to play a pretty intelligent character, and this was shown at various points throughout the film.

Now, it probably isn’t worth much coming from me as I am notorious for jumping at everything, but there moments dotted throughout Green Room that made me twitch a bit when they happened. It certainly had a few good thrills laced throughout it’s run, although it took a little longer than I’d have liked for these to start happening.

My biggest gripes about the film focus on things that I felt should have been done, but for some reason were not. One of these things was the use of Patrick Stewart, or lack it, shall we say. I just think he should have been on-screen more than he was considering what a wonderful actor he is. My other main issue was the ending. It just happened. Somebody said something, and then the credits started rolling. It just felt a bit sudden, and I thought it let what had been a pretty solid film down quite a bit.

On the whole, Green Room is a film that is well worth watching. More of a thriller than a horror, it had plenty of moments that certainly made my heart beat a bit faster. It has a few issues, but nothing too major, and a couple of great lead performances make this a good watch, and one that I’m very happy to say I’ve seen, even if we have seen films of a similar nature in the past. 

Opinion Battles Round 6 – Favourite Film From 1987

Movie Reviews 101

Opinion Battles Round 6

Favourite Film From 1987

To celebrate my 30th birthday I have decided to challenge everyone to pick their favourite film from the year of my birth so 1987 will be the selection of films we will be looking at.

If you want to take part in the next Opinion Battles we will be looking at Favourite Performance in a Comedy Movie by a NON-Comedic Actor. If you want to take part email your choice to moviereviews101@yahoo.co.ukby 2nd of April 2017.

Darren – Movie Reviews 101

Predator

Predator was one of the very first adult action movies I ever saw and while it definitely isn’t the best movie from 1987 it is easily one of the most fun movies from the year. We get Arnold Schwarzenegger facing off against an alien creature with better weapons then him in the middle of the jungle. A…

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Tuesday Top Ten – My Favourite Bruce Willis Films

This Sunday just gone, it was Bruce Willis’ birthday, so what better time for me to take a look back on some of my favourite films of his? It was tough narrowing this list down if I’m honest – I’ve seen a few too many Bruce Willis films in the last few years. Trimming the shortlist from 25 to 10 was hard, but I got there eventually.
10. Split


Fair enough, this maybe wouldn’t be considered a Willis film by most, but the way I see it is he appeared in it, so it counts. So far this year, this has probably been my favourite mainstream film to come out, however because it’s not really a Willis film, I couldn’t put it any higher.

9. The Jackal


This film is a guilty pleasure of mine, and it is one of my favourites by Brucie. For me, there’s a few plus points with The Jackal, not least Richard Gere’s god-awful Irish accent – I think he would have given Brad Pitt a run for his money in Snatch. I find it to be a fun watch, even if it is considered to be rather terrible my a lot of people.

8. Over The Hedge


This Dreamworks animation is one I always enjoy watching. Willis plays RJ, and isn’t exactly a good guy, but isn’t quite a supervillain either. While they’re never equal to the quality of Pixar’s early years, I do like Dreamworks films for the fact that they push their innuendos and disguised adult humour a bit further than most kids’ films.

7. Twelve Monkeys


This was a film that I really enjoyed for the first half, maybe even the first three quarters of it’s runtime, however it was after this point that it lost me entirely. Willis may have been the lead in the film, but it was Brad Pitt who was terrific here, and he was the reason I stuck with the whole thing to the end.

6. Die Hard With A Vengeance


This third instalment in the franchise is my favourite after the original. I loved the partnership between Willis and Samuel L. Jackson, which is a pairing that will feature more than once on this list. There are a number of scenes in this film that really make me laugh, but also there was plenty of action to go with them.

5. Lucky Number Slevin


I liked this film, but it was nothing special. I watched Tarantino-esque Lucky Number Slevin a few years ago and just thought it tried a bit too hard to be something it wasn’t. Nonetheless, it was a bit of fun and I’m glad I watched it.

4. Sin City


Sin City was a film that I also watched a few years ago and enjoyed, although to this day I’m still not entirely sure what actually went on throughout the story. Willis played a key character here in the form of Hartigan and was his usual wonderful self as a grizzled law enforcer. The man knows what he’s good at, and he’s reasonably good at sticking to it.

3. Unbreakable


I remember when I first watched Unbreakable, I don’t think I was overly impressed by it – I enjoyed it, but was singing from the rooftops about it. Looking back however, I can appreciate it far more. It is a brilliant film that I am planning to revisit very soon, and was also part of the reason why I enjoyed Split so much.

2. Pulp Fiction


Of course Tarantino’s best known film had to feature here somewhere. Willis’ role as Butch Coolidge here was brilliant, and in a line up of some really great characters, he completely held his own.

1. Die Hard


It would have been sacrilege to not put Die Hard at number one in a list of my favourite Bruce Willis films. This will always be known as the film that made him into a huge action star, and also the film that raised the bar for the action genre. 

So that’s all ten of my favourite Bruce Willis films. I enjoyed each and every one of them for different reasons, as I also did with many of the films that didn’t make the list. What would you include that I didn’t? Let me know via the comments below.  

Michael Collins is essential Paddy’s Day viewing for me


The story of the man who led a guerrilla war against the U.K, aided negotiations in the creation of the Irish Free State, and led the National Army in the Irish Civil War.
Following the massive defeat of Irish rebels in the 1916 Easter Rising, Michael Collins (Liam Neeson) decides new strategies are needed in order to gain Irish independence. He first begins to use what is now recognised as guerrilla tactics and the organised killings of Irish informants for the U.K. government, and then later on members of British intelligence. By 1921, the Brits are willing to negotiate a settlement, and Collins is reluctantly sent over for the talks by Sinn Fein president Eamonn DeValera (Alan Rickman), who knows full well that the agreement reached will disappoint some. He condemns Collins when he returns with a Treaty declaring an Irish Free State and not a Republic, and Collins’ longest friend Harry Borland (Aidan Quinn) rejects him following the emergence of his relationship with Kitty Kiernan (Julia Roberts). What unfolds following this landmark settlement is a civil war as Collins struggles against those who want complete and unconditional independence for the whole country.

Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day, so it seemed only right to take a look back on an Irish film, and what better than to watch a film that focuses on the fight for independence for the country. Now, of course this is a film that is a product of Hollywood, so with regard to historical accuracy there may be some discretions, however this a wonderful study of the man who I guess could be considered the Braveheart of Ireland and is a fine watch for anyone who would maybe like to get more of a feel for what actually went on in the build up to the declaration of the Irish Free State, and the the fall out that came from that.

Liam Neeson did a wonderful job of encapsulating all the different aspects of Collins in this film, however one thing that I feel was most important was the fact that he really managed to show that Collins didn’t want to cause so much violence, but that it was the only way. Collins was a very conflicted man with regards to both the methods he chose to deploy as a leader of the rebels, but he was also torn over the personal relationships he had with those who initially worked with him, but then went their separate ways and began to turn against him. This was something else that I believe to have been portrayed very well by Neeson.

This is quite a star-studded cast, however there is one member of the line-up that I can’t help but feel didn’t quite belong there, as much as I love her work. Julia Roberts really does seem quite out of place as Collins’ love interest, Kitty Kiernan. I also am unsure as to whether she was a real figure in this story, or whether she was introduced purely just for romantic interest. Either way, she just didn’t fit in there, and it pains me to say that about Roberts, but it is kind of true.

Now, I mentioned at the beginning that some of what is shown in the film may need to be taken with a pinch of salt. I can only assume this to be the case due the fact that when I was first shown the film by my parents a few years ago, key moments would often pass by only to be followed with, ‘…and that’s a load a shite,’ or, ‘…that never happened,’ from my dad, as if he was the fact checker for the film. It is common knowledge however that the Hollywood machine can twist things slightly for it’s own benefit, so if you do watch the film, or have watched it, expect only a feel for the period to come from it.

Overall, Michael Collins was a grand addition to my St. Patrick’s Day viewing this year. It is always a good film to watch, whoever watching it yesterday meant it had a greater sense of occasion for me. For anyone who hasn’t seen the film, I would recommend it, and those of you who haven’t viewed it in a while might just fancy revisiting it again after reading this I hope.

Tuesday Top Ten – My Favourite Irish Actors & Their Best Work

 This Friday is the 17th March, and anyone with even a trace of green blood flowing through their veins know that it is a big day on the Irish calendar. Yes, lovely readers, it is indeed St. Patrick’s Day, and seeing as I’m more or less a Paddy who was just born in the wrong country, I’ve decided to celebrate with this week’s Top Ten. Here is my countdown of my favourite Irish actors, along with what I think is their best work to date.
10. Aidan Gillen – The Wire


 Aidan Gillen is a familiar face for many people, having appeared in Game Of Thrones and a number of feature films. For me, my favourite appearance of his was in The Wire as Tommy Carcetti. I know I’ve said that when it came out his turn in the show, I found it all got a bit too political for my liking, but Gillen played a great character, I can appreciate that.

9. David Caves – Silent Witness


Someone who I think is an emerging face from the Emerald Isle is David Caves. The only thing I’ve really seen him in is Silent Witness, and I have to be honest, he’s kind of the reason I’m such a big fan of the show. I would definitely say watch this space for him showing up in a few bigger projects in future – he’s already made a brief appearance in Oscar-nominated Jackie, and the only way is up I’d say.

8. Gabriel Byrne – The Usual Suspects


I’ve not seen loads of Gabriel Byrne’s work, but of what I have seen, The Usual Suspects has been my favourite. He played a great role as Keaton himself, but the whole film was wonderful if you ask me. It’s been a while since I last saw it, so maybe I should get round to it again soon.

7. Robert Sheehan – Fortitude


He has taken on one of the main roles in the second season of Fortitude, and despite only being on my radar for a few weeks, I am already quite a fan of Robert Sheehan. He’s been in a few TV series and perhaps the odd film here and there, although I’ve not seen him in anything else besides what he’s currently starring in. Of course, now that I have discovered him, I shall be making it my mission in life to find other works of his.

6. Liam Neeson – Michael Collins


Now, you cannot have a list on Irish thespians without mentioning the actor who portrayed the man who played such a huge part in the independence movement that eventually led to the formation of the Irish Free State. Liam Neeson took on the role of Michael Collins in the film of the same name, and did a wonderful job. For anyone wanting to get a feel for the history that has ran between Ireland and Britain in the last century or so, this film is a great starting point, and one that I would absolutely recommend.

5. James Nesbitt – The Missing


This man is everywhere you look on British TV – you can’t seem to avoid him, even if you try! Thankfully though, James Nesbitt is a very good actor, and had been in some terrific shows over the years. One of my favourites has to have been The Missing, although I have to be honest, Nesbitt made his appearance in the pilot season, which wasn’t quite as wonderful as season two.

4. Colm Meaney – The Commitments


I’ve seen a lot of films with Colm Meaney in, but my favourite by a long way is The Commitments. He was so good as Jimmy’s dad in this film, and reminded me a lot of my dad when I watched him. He has a great deal of very funny one liners and off-the-cuff comments in the film, with a few rather brilliant words about U2 being amongst many that have stuck in my head since watching it.

3. Brendan Gleeson – The Guard


This. Man. Is. A. God. I will never tire of watch Brendan Gleeson with his dry sense of humour and dead pan face in any film, not least in The Guard. This film… I laugh every single time I watch it. I also really liked him in In Bruges with fellow countryman Colin Farrell, but The Guard still has the top spot in my book.

2. Michael Fassbender – Slow West


An actor who just seems to be going places is Michael Fassbender. He’s done everything – a western, a Nazi war film, a video game adaptation – you name it, Fassbender has probably done it. The last I heard he was in the running to be the next James Bond, so who knows where his career could take him next? For now though, my favourite film he’s been in is Slow West, for so many reasons.

1. Cillian Murphy – The Wind That Shakes The Barley


Another very good film that takes a look at Irish history and the journey towards independence is The Wind That Shakes The Barley. Cillian Murphy takes the lead here and since watching the film for the first time a few years ago, I’ve become a huge fan of his work. Murphy has taken roles in some awesome films, but is also the main character in BBC’s Peaky Blinders. He is a tremendous actor and certainly a fine talent to have come out of Ireland.

So there you have it –  my favourite Irish actors, all in time for St. Paddy’s day at the end of the week. They are a wonderful bunch, and I would urge that you check out their work if you haven’t already, especially those that I have mentioned on this list because I’m hoping that if I enjoyed them, I can share those with you as well. Until next time, erin go bragh!

Two years of Film And TV 101!

Hello everyone!

Just a quick word to say that today marks two years since I set up this site after a whimsical idea came into my head one day. Clearly, it wasn’t that much of a spur of the moment thing as here I am, still wittering on about what I liked or didn’t like about the films and TV shows I’ve seen.

The last year especially has seen me take some big steps with my blog, and I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who I have gotten involved with on different projects. It’s been so fun trying out so many different things such as podcasting and guest posting, and I am looking forward to taking part in many more things like this in future, and perhaps hosting some events of my own!

To mark the occasion, I’m doing a live video on Twitter (find me @filmandtv101) where I’ll be answering all the questions to my Q&A and just generally having a chat with you guys – who knows where the conversation could take us once I get going?

I’ll be live at 6:00pm GMT on Thursday 16/3/2017 (this Thursday!), so tune in if you sent me any questions, or if you’re just vaguely interested in what’s happening. The more merrier I think.

Once again, thank you to everyone who has stuck with the site in the last two years, and to all you guys who have had projects that I’ve gotten stuck into since I started blogging. It’s been a blast upto now, and hopefully will continue to do so for plenty more years yet πŸ™‚

Until next time,

Kira xx