Having to go to ground after the events of the first film, the four horsemen are toey. These guys are performers, they need an audience. Well no Isla Fisher’s character – she’s not in this film. Anyhow, they (Jesse Eisenberg as Atlas, Woody Harrelson as McKinney, Dave Franco as Wilder and joined by Lizzy Caplan as Lula) come back, with the help of Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo), but there is a new player in the game – Walt Wabry (Daniel Radcliffe) a millionaire eccentric who loves magic. Now Bradley (Morgan Freeman) and Tressler (Michael Caine) also need to come back, and we have a lot of fun. Big magic, big tricks, no idea about what’s going on and then BAM things get fun. It’s ace in the same way the first one is ace. I doubt they’ll make another, but I kinda hope they will.
Note: this is a long film. So, don’t start it on a night when you want an early night, especially if you are likely to find that you need something light to take your mind off what you have experienced before you go to sleep.
So, there is a serial killer who is sending letters to the newspapers. (Based on reality, as it happens). This gets the journalists on the case, from crime reporter Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.) to cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal). Then of course there are the police, Inspector David Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) and Inspector William Armstrong (Anthony Edwards). And the clues never quite match up to a solved case… or do they?
This is an excellent whodunit – kept me drawn in the whole time, and the idea that this was all based on reality freaked me out a bit. Thank goodness I’ve never lived a community actually threatened by this type of thing – and if I get anyone calling and deep breathing in that creepy way, well, I may never sleep again. Brrr.
Based on a true story from 2003, Spotlight follows a newspaper investigation unit in Boston who are investigating the cover up of sex crimes by the Catholic Church, moving offending priests around rather than allowing them to be charged officially. It’s something that we take for granted now – this happened by the Catholic Church across the world and is still continuing to be investigated, and new allegations seem to constantly being revealed. What is fascinating is that the church had been able to get away with it for so long without it coming out, and that it was revealed in Boston, a very heavily Catholic City which raised its own difficulties in the investigation.
This was a fascinating film. It’s important to remember that it is a dramatisation, so it’s not necessarily all factual. However, it is a great story. I think while you wouldn’t want to use this film as a basis for an argument on the cover up of such behaviour, it isn’t the worst place to start, and then go an investigate the actual facts. It also didn’t shy away from the fact that mistakes were made, people were hurt, and that there are so many bad things that should not be covered up by money or power.
Spotlight won Oscars for Best Motion Picture of the Year and Best Writing, Original Screenplay and was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Mark Ruffalo), Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Rachel McAdams), Best Achievement in Directing (Tom McCarthy), Best Achievement in Film Editing. It was nominated for Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director – Motion Picture, Best Screenplay – Motion Picture. It won a BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay and was nominated for Best Supporting Actor (Mark Rufalo) and Best Film.
US Marshall Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) is sent to a mental asylum set on an inhospitable island with his partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) to investigate the disappearance of one of the patients. There, they meet Dr Crawley (Ben Kingsley) and Dr Naehring (Max von Sydow) and find that things are not what they seem.
I remember watching this years ago and really hating it – finding the twist extremely obvious and the whole thing quite annoying. I’m not a huge Scorsese fan, and was just a bit unimpressed. Then I heard it discussed on Plato’s Cave, the RRR film criticism show, and while they are all massive Scorsese fans, they said to watch it just as a thriller with a twist will be disappointing because it is deliberately so obvious. However, if you watch it with that knowledge and just enjoy the way it unfolds, you can really appreciate it. So, I gave it another go and, dammit, they were totally right. It’s very clever and intense and just great. I’m so glad I went back and watched it from a different mindset.
Broken men, oh so many broken men. Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) is an Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler, following in the footsteps of his older brother and now coach, David (Mark Ruffalo). Then along comes John du Pont (Steve Carell) a very rich man trying to break free from his disapproving mother Jean du Pont (Vanessa Redgrave) whilst still living in her shadow. He has a passion for wrestling and convinces Mark to come and live and train at his facility. But there is darkness, so much understated but deep darkness and things are bound to end tragically.
It’s a slow movie that underplays key events to the point that if you were to be distracted, you could almost miss important moments. I still haven’t decided what my opinion is about it – certainly, it is a well constructed story, and the lack of soundtrack during most (if not all) of the film works beautifully. But I found the acting, certainly from the three main actors, really stilted and forced. It was almost as if each had several physical characteristics that they had been told to focus on and this drove their performances. Once I got used to this, it was okay, but it took a while.
Foxcatcher was nominated for Oscars for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Steve Carell), Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Mark Ruffalo), Best Achievement in Directing (Bennett Miller), Best Writing, Original Screenplay (E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman) and Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling. It was also nominated for Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama (Steve Carell), Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Mark Ruffalo) and BAFTAs for Best Supporting Actor (Mark Ruffalo) and Best Supporting Actor (Steve Carell).
Man creates a robot with artificial intelligence that then threatens the existence of humans. What a refreshing and new concept! Oh, sorry, was that sarcasm? See, my problem with this film is just that I saw it only a few days after seeing Mad Max: Fury Road. And after seeing something with that grit and darkness, the Avengers just seem stupid and whatever.
So, in this film, the man is Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) and the robot is Ultron (voiced by James Spader). And the robot uses the internet to expand and take over everything. Then there are the side stories. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) surprises them all by having a wife and kids and a life that most of them had written off because of their superhero-ness. There’s some romance brewing between Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) and we all want that to happen. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Captain America (Chris Evans) are just standing around and being buff with the odd sarcastic comment here and there.
Look, I liked it enough, but I am totally aware that the studios have various sequels and stuff for all of these films set up for the next ten years or so, and I feel like they should be better than this. But that could be just the Mad Max factor. Here’s a challenge – I know you’ve got all these films written, and there is a lot of stuff that probably is expected to tie in with the comics. But how about we do some decent stuff with Black Widow, and let’s get some better female characters. And heaps more. And not like that one that Gwyneth played who simpered around in tiny denim shorts and ended up in bed with Tony Stark. Let’s all be better at this, hey?
Lisa (Anna Paquin) is a teenager growing up in New York, trying to work out school and boys and a long-distance relationship with her father, and a challenging relationship with her mother. And then she witnesses a woman get hit by a bus and tries to figure out how this fits in with her life.
It’s an interesting film. There are scenes where the action happens in the distance, but the sound is of the events that are happening just off camera – conversations, fights, music, even just roadworks. And other scenes where dialogue is happening but the vision is something totally else. It’s strangely beautiful and mysterious. Unfortunately, for me, I feel like Anna Paquin is just so closely tied to Sookie that I found it very difficult to buy her as anyone else. There is a scene early on with a lot of blood and high emotions, and I couldn’t help feeling that it was all a bit True Blood. And once I got that in my mind, I couldn’t get it out of my mind.
I liked it for the first, perhaps, two hours, but then I just got fed up with the drama that Lisa creates all around her, and the way people either confront her or just go along with her drama. By the end I just was fed up with it all.The accident scene was wonderful, made so in part by the wonderful Allison Janney. And the cast in general is very impressive, with Mark Ruffalo, Jean Reno, Kieran Culkin, Matt Damon, Matthew Broderick.