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. 

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.

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 🙂

Until next time,

Kira xx

Primal Fear wasn’t mind-blowing, but it wasn’t frighteningly bad either


When a priest is murdered, one of his altar boys is accused of doing the deed, however the truth of what really happened is quite deeply buried.Hot-shot defence attorney Martin Vail (Richard Gere) takes on the case of poor altar boy Aaron (Edward Norton) who stands accused of murdering a well-respected priest. He offers to fight Aaron’s corner pro bono, convinced that the boy is not guilty of killing the man of the cloth. As he spends time with him, Martin finds more and more material that could help Aaron’s case in court, the most important being that he appears to suffer from some kind of multiple personality disorder, as agreed by psychologist Dr. Molly Arrington (Frances McDormand). This could prove significant in court, where Martin and his client are up against ambitious young prosecutor Janet Venable (Laura Linney), whose history with the defence means she is determined to win the fight. However, one thing remains uncertain right throughout the trial, and that is, what exactly happened in the priest’s apartment, and who did it?

Another film that I have been waiting a while to see is Primal Fear. I had heard mainly good things about it, and after watching it this weekend I can confirm that it is a solid watch, however I had half-suspected the ending. Oh well, at least I can finally cross it off my list now!

I really liked Richard Gere as Martin Vail. What made him such a good character was the fact that, despite being a big time defence lawyer, he wasn’t a really self-conceited, egotistic type of person, which is often what happens with these types of characters. It is later explained to you in the film why he isn’t a complete idiot as well, and he just feels human when you watch him. I can’t help but feel that Gere is slightly type-cast as a rich man with a successful career however, because he played someone of a similar status in Pretty Woman, which happens to be one of the few other films I have seen him in. Nonetheless, I enjoyed watching him, and will happily sit and watch his work in other films in future.

This is the film that made Edward Norton, and it’s not difficult to see why. Much like James McAvoy in Split – another film involving a multiple personality type disorder – Norton owned the role by making the transitions between his two personalities so clear. There was a look in his eye that defined each persona before he spoke, and the vocal characterisations were very strong, really completing the characters. I can safely say that Norton’s early career, to the best of my knowledge, was dominated by some excellent performances.

Many of the performances in the film are very good, however it still remains only a solid watch in my opinion, not an unforgettable one. This is mainly because I had kind of seen the ending coming, so I really wasn’t that surprised when it happened, and for that reason I doubt the film is going to have much of a lasting impact on me.

Overall, while I would recommend Primal Fear, I would warn people to bare in mind that it doesn’t really break any new ground. Perhaps when it was released 21 years ago, things were different, but the film currently doesn’t have the punch I would have liked it to. That being said, it is still a good watch, and I am happy to say that I have finally seen it after waiting for such a long time.

Just Charlie review for Midlands Movies

This review first appeared on Midlands Movies

A gifted footballer struggles with her identity as she becomes more and more aware that they are a girl trapped inside a boy’s body, while her family and friends also try their best to come to terms with these changes.
When young footballing talent Charlie (Harry Gilby) receives an offer for a trial at his county’s football team it would appear that he quite literally has the world at his feet. If he plays his cards right, his future could be sorted. However, a life of luxury doing what he loves is more daunting to Charlie than one would initially think it would be. Trapped in the body of a boy, Charlie is painfully torn between living up to his father’s expectations and following the life he never could, and shedding his ill-fitting skin. When he unintentionally fronts up to his family, Charlie’s action threatens to tear his family apart forever.

Just Charlie is a Midlands-based project that takes a look at the story of a young boy who is a young girl at heart. It is a wonderfully made film that sensitively deals with an issue that has recently started to have more and more light shed on it.

I really enjoyed a number of the performances here, although I absolutely must start off by saying hat’s off to young Harry Gilby for his portrayal of Charlie here. For a first appearance in a feature length film he did a terrific job. It was a truly brilliant performance that I think showed real maturity on Gilby’s behalf. I think a lot of very experienced actors would have to seriously consider taking on a role such as this because it is a very sensitive issue that has only really become something that has started to be discussed publicly very recently. There is potentially a lot that could go wrong when someone plays a transgender person as there is such a huge number of ways the role could be unknowingly mishandled. For me though, Gilby did a very good job of portraying Charlie, so kudos to him.

Scot Williams played Charlie’s dad, and again, this was another blinding performance. Some of his scenes with Gilby were horrible to watch, but this had such an impact on me as a viewer. I cannot begin to imagine the toll that a situation such as the one presented here in the film must take on a family, but if I were to try to, the results would come pretty close to so many of the scenes that the two actors shared here. As difficult and upsetting as they were to watch at times, they really did the job very well. Williams managed to play Paul in a way that meant you didn’t view him as a heartless idiot, but as a man who was grieving in some way, meaning you were able to empathise with him somewhat.

I have to praise writer Peter Machen on the story he created for the film. He managed to write something that covered just a bout all bases of Charlie’s life – home, school, football, and everything in between. He also managed to do all this without making the film feel as thought it was trying to be much bigger than it actually was. While it may have branched out and touched upon the issue in a variety of settings, the story still felt personal and intimate enough for you to really be drawn into it.

All in all, Just Charlie is a beautiful film that pulls no punches in delivering it’s message, yet still brings everything back round for a happy ending (or should I really say beginning in this case?). The top notch writing covers so many things while the truthful performances do a great job in tying everything together very nicely indeed. This is a touching journey of a film that is definitely worth every moment spent watching it.