Transporter 3 (2008) Film Review

Transporter 3

For Transporter 3, they’ve swapped the annoying child (from Transporter 2, and he wasn’t actually that annoying) for an annoying party-girl (and she is very annoying). There is more kidnapping, technological devices and explosions, but add to that a ill-described sexual tension leading to unconvincing sex and you’ve apparently got a film. Still, the fighting is cool.

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Transporter 2 (2005) Film Review

Transporter 2

What is it with crap sequels and children? When will they learn?

Transporter 2 finds Frank Martin (Jason Statham) driving the young son of a wealthy couple around. When it appears that he has kidnapped the kid, he needs to prove his innocence, and keep the child safe.

The plot is crap, but the action is awesome – ridiculous and awesome. If you like high quality action films, don’t watch this, but if you like noise and explosions, this is the film for you.

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Dallas Buyers Club (2013) Film Review

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Dallas 1985. Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) is a hard-living man, drinking, cocaine and having sex with any lady that stands still long enough. Then he gets sick, and the doctor diagnoses AIDS, giving him thirty days to live. After a brief moment of denial, Ron does some investigating and discovers Dr Vass (Griffin Dunne), an ex-US ex-doctor who is using alternative medications in Mexico. Ron has some success with these and decides to bring them back to Dallas, starting up a business known as a buyers club. Prior to getting ill, Ron was extremely homophobic, but now he finds most of his business is with the gay community. He strikes up an unlikely friendship with cross-dressing Rayon (Jared Leto) to try to fight the system and keep himself and many others alive, regardless of how the government tried to fight him.

It’s not an easy film to watch. McConaughey looks extremely ill for much of the film, and the politics of the situation are horrible. (A few years ago, I watched several documentaries, notably How to Survive a Plague, and cannot believe the attitudes of the US government. Although I believe that, should a similar situation happen now, it probably wouldn’t be that different. There might just be more people with a louder voice fighting).

I feel that the true-life story of Woodroof is an excellent story to tell. It shows a number of sides, although it should always be recognised that it is a fictionalised version of the truth, so it should not be treated as a documentary. It’s not an easy film to watch, but it is good in an almost sadtacular fashion.

Dallas Buyers Club won Oscars for Best Performance by an actor in a Leading Role (Matthew McConaughey), Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Jared Leto) and Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling and was nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Achievement in Film Editing and Best Writing, Original Screenplay. It also won Golden Globes for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Matthew McConaughey) and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Jared Leto).

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12 Years a Slave (2013) Film Review

12 Years a Slave

Based on a true story, 12 Years a Slave tells the story of free man Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who lives in New York with his wife and two children, making a living as a musician. When his wife and children are away, he takes a well-paying job in Washington only to find himself drugged and beat, and taken down south to be sold as a slave. His first owner, Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a fair man (despite the whole owning slaves thing), but employs the cruel Tibeats (Paul Dano) who hates Northup for being smart and outspoken. After Northup stands up to Tibeats, Ford fears for his life, and sells him to the cruel drunkard Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender). Epps regularly beats and humiliates his slaves, although takes one of the young women, Patsey (Lupita Nyong’o) as his lover. It is not a spoiler to say that eventually he is Northup is freed – it is in the title after all.

It is an extremely good film made from difficult subject matter. It is appalling to think that slavery existed at all, much less that it was common for people to think of men and women (and children) of African heritage as lesser beings. Having said that, there is still slavery in the world. I haven’t come across a film that addresses slavery in modern times; I’d be interested to know if there has been one, and wonder if I have the stomach to watch it.

I found it interesting, however, that for a film with such intense subject matter and excellent acting, I was not greatly emotionally moved. I only cried a little at the end, yet this is surely the type of film that I would have expected to have me in floods of tears. Perhaps it was the weird couple who came into the almost empty cinema, very loudly, thirty minutes in, sat behind me still talking loudly, then the woman sent the man out for M&Ms (we all know because she shouted across the entire cinema as he left). I actually felt fearful of shhhing (they were really weird) and so I moved, but perhaps that whole thing put me off. Though, I think it was just that I did not get a huge chance to connect with Northup throughout. I disliked what was happening to him, but in a very detached manner.

Best Film Oscar? I’m nearly through all the 2014 nominations, and so far, yeah, I reckon it was. I still have Captain Phillips and Philomena, but of the bunch of them, this comes out ahead for me.

12 Years a Slave won Oscars for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Lupita Nyong’o) and Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay (John Ridley) and was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Lead Role (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Michael Fassbender), Best Achievement in Costume Design, Best Achievement in Directing, Best Achievement in Film Editing and Best Achievement in Production Design. It was also won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture, Drama and was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Michael Fassbender), Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Lupita Nyong’o), Best Director – Motion Picture (Steve McQueen), Best Screenplay – Motion Picture (John Ridley) and Best Original Score – Motion Picture. It won BAFTA Awards for Best Film and Best Leading Actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and was nominated for Film Music, Best Adapted Screenplay (John Ridley), Best Supporting Actor (Michael Fassbender), Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong’o), Best cinematography, Best Editing, Best Production Design and Best Direction (Steve McQueen).

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Christmas Vacation (1989) Film Review

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Having seen European Vacation almost yearly (given how often it is screened on television) I’ve somehow made it this far without seeing Christmas Vacation, and I’m glad I’ve finally seen it, in all its slapstick glory.

The story is pretty typical of a Christmas film; a man wants a perfect Christmas for his family, and has little consideration of how it may affect those around him. The man is Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase), and his family are his wife Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo), son Buck (Johnny Galecki now known for The Big Bang Theory) and daughter Audrey (Juliette Lewis). And all the ring-ins – both sets of parents and trailer trash brother-in-law. Clark is expecting his Christmas bonus, and has put a deposit on a pool in anticipation, however he is left waiting for a long time. Meanwhile, everything he does seems to be ruining the lives of the yuppies next door (Julia Louise Dreyfus and Nicholas Guest)

It’s fun and stupid and worth a watch, just don’t be expecting Citizen Kane. Unless you really like disappointment; or hate Citizen Kane.

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Private Eye (2009) Film Review

Private Eye

Ridiculous, hilarious, marvelous, wonderful. I love South Korean films, even when they are somewhat stupid like this one, veering from outright slapstick to hideous, horrible violence.

It’s the early 20th century in occupied Korea. So, there’s an ex-army dude who is now a private eye, mostly going after cheating wives/husbands and the like. He has fancy gadgets (yeah, a bit like Bond) given to him by a rich a beautiful woman who love science. Then there is a medical student who finds a dead body and takes it home to practice his anatomy work (as you would) only to discover that the body is that of a prominent man’s son. He hires the private eye to help him discover who killed the guy. More people die, there’s a circus, and lots of serious faces followed by crazy dancing. Love it.

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Djinn by Laura Catherine – Book Review

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Kyra is a normal teenager living a normal life. No, she’s really not. She and her father have been on the run for as long as she can recall, moving town to town, taking on new identities, though she’s never known exactly why. Not until she is kidnapped and learns that her life, in fact all life, is not what she thought.

I’m a huge fan of YA fiction and, over the years, have become more and more interested in YA fantasy. For me, that ranges from your Harry Potters through Hunger games and the Lost series to other fantasy with creatures from different worlds and battles and the like. Djinn is the first novel from local author Laura Catherine and it is an excellent example of the genre. The action is fast paced and exciting and the end has left me hanging for the next instalment.

Djinn can be purchased as a paperback or electronic book. Visit http://quillwielder.com/ for further information.

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