Thursday, 28 January 2016

Dirty Grandpa

Many have wondered whether Robert De Niro has been ruining his esteemed reputation with a string of mediocre films over the past few years, and now Dirty Grandpa provides yet another example in support of that argument. It is a shame to see an acting icon reduced to playing such a sleazy, unfunny and dull character. Dirty Grandpa is about uptight lawyer Jason (Zac Efron) who is forced to drive his widower grandfather Dick (De Niro) to Florida in a bizarre road trip before he marries the bratty Meredith (Julianne Hough). While there are a few good gags, most jokes are repetitive and go too far. Dirty jokes are fine, but there still has to be some substance. Instead, the film totally loses the plot and starts to drag on. Efron's body looks amazing, but he has no opportunity to show his acting abilities. Hough is at least a funny caricature and Aubrey Plaza steals almost every scene she is in, playing the slutty college student trying to sleep with Dick. Ultimately though, Dirty Grandpa tries too hard to be filthy and not enough to be genuinely funny.  


Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Steve Jobs

It is hard to fathom how a film with all the right ingredients can somehow only manage to just be ok. This film has a fantastic screenwriter in Aaron Sorkin, an accomplished director in Danny Boyle and a skilled cast including Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet, but all the pieces fail to come together. Sorkin gives the audience just a glimpse into Jobs' life and centres the story around three major product launches in his career before the iPod. He has also taken a lot of liberties with the story. Boyle does the best he can with what he has and Fassbender gives a solid performance too. Unfortunately, the usually near-perfect Winslet struggled with the accent. Jobs was a fascinating man who did extraordinary things, and yet, this is now the second biopic about him in recent years that has failed to hit the mark.


Monday, 18 January 2016

Room

This film made me laugh and cry. Based on a novel, Room centres around a young woman who has been held captive in a shed for several years with her five-year-old son, and their attempts to escape. Brie Larson definitely deserves the Oscar for best actress and young Jacob Tremblay gives one of the best performances from a child ever. The film is suspenseful and also a fascinating look at the human psyche, especially as Tremblay's naive character starts to learn the truth about the world beyond their room.  


Wednesday, 13 January 2016

The 5th Wave

This is not one of the best teenage post-apocalyptic films, but it's ok. I have not read the book, so I cannot say whether it stays true to the novel, but regardless, there are some exciting scenes. The plot involves an alien species slowly taking over the world and centres on a female protagonist and her journey to reunite with her little brother. There is some suspense, particularly as the film gradually reveals what is going on, but there is also some terrible dialogue and embarrassingly lame moments. Teenagers are sure to enjoy it, but more mature audiences will roll their eyes at all the clich├ęs. Helping the film is its solid cast, led by Chloe Grace Moretz and Liev Schreiber. Alex Roe is also sure to attract a lot of attention for his cheeky lake scene.  


Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Spotlight

This film tells an important story about child abuse that sadly remains relevant today. It also emphasises the value of investigative journalism, which is unfortunately becoming more rare. Based on a true story, Spotlight chronicles how the Boston Globe uncovered the devastating scandal of child molestation and the cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese that had a ripple effect around the world. The amazing cast includes the always brilliant Mark Ruffalo, who has one scene in particularly that will give you goosebumps, as well as Michael Keaton and Rachel McAdams. Spotlight may not explore a comfortable subject, but it is sure to be one of the most important films of 2016.


Monday, 11 January 2016

Carol

Cate Blanchett is enough reason to see this film. It is very slow-paced but she is always such a joy to watch and it is actually a good story once it gets going. Based on the book The Price of Salt, Carol is about an aspiring photographer, played by the sweet and charming Rooney Mara, who develops an intimate relationship with an older woman, played by Blanchett, who is married and has a young child. Although it is easy to pigeon-hole this film because it deals with a lesbian relationship, it is actually far more layered and interesting. The costumes are exquisite and the soundtrack is fantastic too.



Thursday, 7 January 2016

The Big Short

Few may think economics is interesting, funny or sexy. But The Big Short manages to make the subject all of those things. It is about four people in the finance world who predict the credit and housing collapse of the mid-2000s and decide to take on the big banks for their lack of foresight. The film cleverly explains a complex financial disaster in such a simple and engaging way. It is ultimately a sad story told with a lot of heart and humour. The soundtrack is also memorable. Of course, the stellar cast including Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt also make this film worth seeing.



Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Sisters

This is the funniest film I have seen in months. The dream team of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, as well as a bunch of their comedic friends is fantastic. The premise is simple – Fey and Poehler are sisters who want to throw one final wild party at their childhood home before their parents sell the place. From there, it is a series of hilarious moments culminating in a sweet moral to the story. You will laugh so much that you will want to watch it again to catch all the jokes you missed the first time.  


Tuesday, 5 January 2016

The Revenant

I highly recommend The Revenant, directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy and Domhnall Gleeson. The film is basically two-and-a-half hours of DiCaprio being tortured in the hopes of finally winning an Academy Award. The film is as brilliant as it is brutal and gross. The much-hyped bear attack scene is like nothing seen in film before. It is prolonged and enthralling. It was a very long shoot and Inarritu used natural light, relying very little on CGI. All the pieces come together very well. The only slight flaw is that the film feels a bit long in parts. Nonetheless, The Revenant is a fantastic way to start the 2016 film year. I do hope DiCaprio finally wins that elusive Oscar.