Movie Review: Inglourious Basterds

Title: Inglourious Basterds
Release: 2009
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Christoph Waltz, Daniel Bruhl.

Okay, so, I need to basically eat my own words here. For years I’ve told people that I didn’t like Inglourious Basterds. I watched a terrible copy of the movie when it first hit the cinemas, and I just didn’t enjoy it at all. However, due to my recent adoration of anything Daniel Bruhl does (and the constant nagging of friends) I decided to rewatch the movie and re-evaluate my opinion. And boy, did I re-evaluate.

I can’t say enough how badly I misjudged this movie. I’ve now watched it twice in two days and I just enjoy it even more each time. I FINALLY GET WHY PEOPLE CALL ELI ROTH THE ‘BEAR JEW’ (seriously, I had no idea why everyone called him that). There’s so many one liners that I’d never realised, and so much fuckery that I wish I’d known about. This movie is the kind of movie that would normally fit into my top 20, and I am so ashamed of myself for misjudging it so badly, I really am.

First of all, the acting. Holy Christ, the acting is fantastic. Brad Pitt’s accent more or less had me breathless (I’m a sucker for a Southern accent, I really am) and Eli Roth had me cracking up because I find his voice so funny (also, is it just me, or does he look a little like Zachary Quinto in this movie?). Every line is delivered beautifully and everything just flows at a such an even and perfect pace.

I’m gonna have to give an honorable mention to to Christoph Waltz and Daniel Bruhl (of course). Really, I don’t know if I should be worried that my favourite characters in the movie were Nazis. Waltz is a fantastic actor, and I just adored him in this – he was so nice and polite but so evil and scheming. His twist near the end had me shaking my finger at the screen. And Bruhl! Oh, how adorable and sweet he was. Seriously, he was like the nicest Nazi ever (okay, until the end, but that more or less results in his death, so.) and he looked so cute in that uniform (like I said, I’m a little worried about myself).

Whole cast is brilliant, and even the small cameos were wonderful (I was on Twitter more or less squealing ‘IS THAT MIKE MYERS?!’). Michael Fassbender was brilliant, and Melanie Laurent was fabulous. I could probably go through the whole cast and just tell you how amazing they were. This really is one of Tarantino’s bests, it really is.

I know it’s silly of me to tell anyone to go watch this movie, because it seems like everyone already has and loved it, and I’m just late to the party. So yes, this is me eating my words and taking back all the negative things I said about it. This movie is fantastic and I am now in love.

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Movie Review: Filth

Title: Filth
Release: October 2013
Director: Jon S. Baird
Starring: James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, Jim Broadbent
Rating: 4/5

When I first heard about Filth, I was more than convinced it was going to be just another typical Scottish ‘junkie movie’, you know, just another Trainspotting. Boy was I wrong. This movie is possibly the greatest movie to come out of Scotland in god only knows how many years. I was completely and utterly blown away by how amazing this movie was, because I was really not expecting it.

First of all, I really should give credit to James McAvoy. I’ve never been a big fan of him, but since watching his performance in Filth, I’m a convert. The role of Detective Bruce Robertson can’t have been an easy one, and wow, did McAvoy deliver. He makes you laugh, he makes you cringe, and he even horrifies you at times. One more than one occasion I had to look away from the screen because it was a little grossed out. His performance is one of merit, it really is. Someone needs to just give that man all the awards.

The supporting cast were all fantastic, too. Jim Broadbent was hilarious, and Jamie Bell had me questioning whether he was actually Scottish and not English, his accent was just perfect. Everyone else was brilliant, and all the cast hit you in some way (not going to lie, watching Moaning Myrtle having sex with McAvoy did make me make a small remark about that Harry Potter character).

Being a Scottish lass, of course I loved the scenery and sets. It was fun seeing places I knew growing up, or picking out areas where friends live, or I’ve been to. I have to admit, Bruce’s entrance being him exiting Edinburgh Castle was perfect – it was exactly how a character like him should enter a movie, I think.

The actually storyline is really well played out and you’re so drawn in by how much Bruce messes everyone around him about. The viewer is left shaking thier head at his antics, but also gets anxious over whether or not he’s going to be caught out and how bad the consequences will be. I don’t want to give too much away because I really want everyone to go out and see this, but the twist at the end is just mind blowing. I actually found myself leaning out of my seat and waving my arms at my friends because of just how brilliant and fantastic it was. Seeing James McAvoy in women’s clothing was…something.

I think everyone (especially you Scots) needs to see this. This is the greatest movie about a police department and a detective trying to get a promotion I have ever seen. It handles addiction and mental health problems in such a real way, it’s like you’re actually watching someone’s life on screen, just falling apart and them trying to solve it in the only way the know – hurting others.

I really, really recommend this movie, I really do. It’s not often I walk out of a cinema screen and actually feel blown away, but this movie left such a long lasting impression on me that it’s understandable why it’s taken Scotland by storm. Seriously, check it out.

Movie Review: The Fifth Estate

Title: The Fifth Estate
Released: October 2013 (UK)
Director: Bill Condon
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Bruhl, Peter Capaldi, Stanley Tucci, David Thewlis

It’s been a very long time since I saw a movie in the cinema that made me want to rush home so I could post my review online as soon as possible. The Fifth Estate made me do this. In fact, as I type this, I’m barely in the door ten minutes and I haven’t even finished putting my PJs on but I’m already typing this up.

This movie is just fantastic. I know it looked great in the trailers, but the movie is much, much better than you think it’s going to be. As a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch I was looking forward to seeing him on the big screen again, but I couldn’t have imagined how wonderful his performance as Julian Assange would be. I know the writers obviously play a large part, but really, there is no other actor that could have portrayed Assange as perfectly as Cumberbatch did. And Daniel Bruhl as Daniel Berg was just brilliant – I know he was good in Rush, but after this movie? Yeah, he’s well and truly on my top 20 list of the greatest actors ever.

What makes this movie so brilliant, is it doesn’t work at making Assange out to be this wonderful person, this man of the people. Actually, in fact, the movie shows Assange for what he was. He was a man who was fighting to bring ‘fatcats’ to justice, to bring down governments that were more or less screwing over their people. However, he was also, well, a bit of an asshole. He was egotistical, a liar, and a manipulator. This movie makes light of all this traits. Of course, the movie is based on the book by Daniel Berg, and Assange even refused to meet with Benedict Cumberbatch (although he was rather gracious in his decline) because he believed the movie to be filled with false information. This is up to us to make our minds up, I guess (though really, I feel like I’d believe Berg over Assange any day of the week).

Through the movie, we get to see the whole timeline of Wikileaks, from Berg joining Assange to Cablegate. Watching their relationship grow and deteriorate is a little emotional, because you can see how much Daniel idolises Julian, and Julian knows it and abuses his power. In fact, throughout the whole movie you just watch as Julian abuses the trust people place in him, and you watch him more or less bully those around him. He takes what should be a type of ‘power to the people’ kind of situation and he uses it to his own advantage, to make himself feel powerful. By the end of the movie you can’t help but feel that whilst it started out justly and righteous, it became a power kick. I think this is all more or less confirmed at the very end of the film when we see Cumberbatch be interviewed as Assange, and he states it was a mistake to ‘hire’ Berg, and whilst I haven’t seen the real interview, I do wonder if he managed to fit his ego in the door.

One thing that I’m glad wasn’t focused on but was brought up (even if it was at the very end) is the sexual misconduct allegations that were brought against Julian Assange. Whilst I don’t know the full details, I’ve always been under the impression this was more or less to tarnish his reputation. I mean, his whole mission was to bring down governments, and it isn’t hard for said governments to lie about people, is it? They do it every day, so I don’t find it hard to believe that this could be a lie to bring him down, because the way the legal systems work, if he is sent to Iceland to face trial, even if he’s found not guilty, he’ll then be shipped to the US to face charges for Cablegate, so in the end the US government get what they want, right? Again, this is an opinion I’ve always held, and I liked that the movie addressed it in this way too. Another part of the ‘interview’ that made the movie that litte bit better was watching Cumberbatch (as Assange) talk about how bad a movie on wikileaks would be and how full of false information it would be.

I think, over all, this movie is rather powerful. Whether or not you agree with wikileaks, or whether or not you hate Assange, this movie is a powerful piece of cinema. In fact, I feel like the movie makes you feel like you should do more, like you should pay more attention to politics. The older I got, the more invested in politics and governments I became, and this story is inspirational to the ‘ordinary’ person, because you can make a difference, you CAN make things change.

I’m genuinely blown away by how fantastic this movie was, and I am so, so glad it showed wikileask, Julian Assange, and even Daniel Berg from every angle. We saw the good they did, the hope and justice they brought to people, but we also saw the bad, the manipulation, the lies, and the danger that an organisation like this can bring about.

Movie Review: Truth About Demons

Title: Truth About Demons
Released: 2000
Director: Glen Standring
Starring: Karl Urban, Katie Wolfe
Rating: 1/5

This movie tops my llist of Terrible Movies Karl Urban Has Been In. This movie was just so messed up I had no idea what the hell was going on half the time. I didn’t appreciate the leader of the demonic cult looking like Anton LaVey, and naming him ‘LaValliant’ was a bit of a kick in the teeth to those who are actually interested in the Church of Satan (not saying that I am, but I am saying it’s not the crazy, animal sacrifing cult people like to pretend it is).

This movie was just a mess. You didn’t know what was going on half the time, and really, the whole thing was a mess. I can’t even try to give it a proper review. I’m glad Kiwi movies have improved since 2000.

Movie Review: Cold Comes the Night

Title: Cold Comes the Night
Released: 2013
Director: Tze Chun
Starring: Alice Eve, Bryan Cranston
Rating: 3/5

Okay. So. Alice Eve is my future wife. I love this woman so much and I just can’t get enough of her. So, of course I was excited about getting to see her on screen again, not too long after Star Trek Into Darkness. I’m lucky enough I have friends that indulge my childish crushes (and it helps that Bryan Cranston is the co-lead) and one of them came along to see the movie with me.

I’m not sure what I was expecting from this film, but it wasn’t what I got. Not that that’s a bad thing, because it was even better than I expected. The whole thing was so very well executed, not too complicated but not to simple. The acting was fantastic from everyone, and the accents were insane – Cranston’s Russian accent was on the ball, and Eve’s American accent nearly knocked me over to begin with. The actual acting was fantastic, and Eve’s desperate single mother was perfect – I liked that she wasn’t pathetic, she was trying to stand on her own feet and look after her daughter, she was fighting for that. The only time in the movie she shows any kind of weakness is when her ex(?)/friend treats her like shit and you’re left feeling a bit angry and sympathetic – for the rest of the movie it’s like her character doesn’t want your sympathy, she’s a strong woman, and I loved that about her. Cranston’s Russian hitman is actually just as enjoyable, and you can’t help but feel some kind of empathy for him – he’s going blind, and he can’t let anyone know because he’ll be struck off, so to speak. The interactions between characters was perfect too, especially that of Alice Eve and her onscreen daughter (little bit of trivia: her daughter is called Sophia, and Alice’s middle name is actually Sophia).

The movie is incredibly enjoyable, and even a little stressful at times because it’s like a no holds barred kind of thing, you never know what’s going to happen next. I was constantly worrying about who would die and who wouldn’t, or how things would turn out, who was going to backstab who, etc. and it all got so stressful! That is a sign of a good movie!

Eve and Cranston make a great onscreen duo and thier interactions are mesmerising, both characters using the other for thier own benefits yet still being sympathetic to the other, and even slightly caring towards the end.

I’d really recommend this to anyone that enjoys a good thriller but without the horror vibe. There’s not too much blood or violence, but it still has you holding your breath at times. Utterly fantastic.

Movie Review: We’re the Millers

Title: We’re the Millers
Released: 2013
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Anniston, Emma Roberts, Ed Helms, Will Poulter
Rating: 3/5

We’re the Millers is actually a rather enjoyable piece of comedy, despite what some critics have said. From the first time I saw the trailers I knew it would be a barrel of laughs, and I was right. A friend and I went along to give it a go and we spent the whole movie laughing our heads off. In fact, there were probably a few scenes in which I laughed a little too loud for a little too long. Yeah, that’s how much I enjoyed it.

The actors all meshed together really well, and the jokes came together perfectly. It was also really good to see Will Poulter in another big movie, because that kid has so much talent and he’s come a long way since School of Comedy and Son of Rambow.

This is just a really fun movie, and it’s basically what it says on the tin. I’d definitely watch it again.

Movie Review: Rush

Title: Rush
Released: 2013
Director: Ron Howard
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruhl
Rating: 4/5

This is really not my usual type of movie. I enjoy watching some sports, but racing has never been a big one for me. My mum was a huge James Hunt and Niki Lauda fan when she was growing up, so despite not watching much racing, I knew to get me by.

This movie is fantastic. It’s emotional, exciting, and entertaining. It really grasps the real feel of Hunt and Lauda’s relationship, and Bruhl and Hemsworth’s acting was off the scale. It was like I was actually watching the real James Hunt and Niki Lauda right there on the screen. The movie shows all the sides of F1 racing, and the the rise to get there. It shows the good, the bad, and the ugly. It shows the heart ache and how a sport can tear a person apart and ruin lives – or make them better. It’s just so, so honest.

The actual races were nervewracking. I spend a good deal of time on the edge of my seat, despite knowing what was coming. When Niki crashed and was pulled out of that burning car I was gasping along with the rest of the audience, even though I’d seen the real footage before. The make up for Niki’s scars was perfect, and Bruhl’s acting was mind blowing (also, I’m not going to lie, when James gets angry at a reporter making a comment about how Niki now looks and beats him up? Yeah, I flailed a little).

I think what completed the movie was the real footage they showed throughout the movie, and then having the real Niki Lauda shown at the very end was just the icing on the cake. It was such a beautifully shot movie and all of this made it so much more realistic. Even if you aren’t a racing fan I would recommend watching this to everyone, because it’s just so beautiful.

Movie Review: You’re Next

Title: You’re Next
Released: 2013*
Director: Adam Wingard
Starring: Sharni Vinson, Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen, Nicholas Tucci
Rating: 2/5

This movie was a flop. We all knew it would be, no matter how hard they promoted (and boy did they promote – I was singing Lou Reed for weeks). However, despite how much the critics have slammed You’re Next and how much everyone has laughed at it, I found it rather enjoyable.

No, this wasn’t a horror movie. If anything, I found it to be more of a black comedy. I spent this whole movie laughing my head off. It’s so cliche and terrible, but still enjoyable. I loved sitting there waiting to see who would get killed off next. The acting was TERRIBLE and the deaths were hilarious. The plot was cliche and obvious (youngest son wants family killed off so he can get the inheritence – though, there’s a little twist at the end [which I called!] and I think a lot of people weren’t expecting that). It’s a really bad movie but it’s enjoyable. Don’t watch it if you’re looking to be scared to look out your window at night, but do watch it if you like to laugh at bad b-movies.

*I just checked on IMDB and apparently this was released in 2011, but the UK only got it this year.

Movie Review: Riddick

Title: Riddick
Released: 2013
Director: David Twohy
Starring: Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, Karl Urban, Katie Sackoff
Rating: 3/5

Those of you that read my review will already know that I don’t like the Riddick movies. They just bore me and I get annoyed with them. Saying that, however, I really enjoyed the recent movie. I went into that cinema screen expecting to hate it with a firey passion, but I came out thinking it was the best in the series, if I’m honest.

After the catastrophe that was The Chronicles of Riddick, I think fans were wondering how the hell this story and character could be saved. Well, they managed it. Yes, the movie was more or less retconned and we got rid of the whole Necromongers thing within the first five minutes, but it worked, so no one is complaining. (Okay, maybe I’m complaining a little, because Karl Urban was in the movie for like, 30 seconds, and I wasn’t happy about that at all.)

The story line is much more simple and enjoyable, and I don’t think you even need to have seen the previous movies to enjoy this one. One big improvement from the previous movies is the special effects – they are MUCH better this time around and completely believable in my opinion. The cast were also a big improvement, and they all seemed to work really well on screen (Katie Sackoff has been added to my YES PLEASE crush list). The Dingo Dongo that Riddick more or less adopts (and never does get named, I don’t think) just melted my heart, and Riddick looking after it was brilliant.

If I’m completely honest, the only problem I had with this whole movie was that Dahl (Sackoff) flirted back with Riddick when she would fight back against anyone else – she’s a lesbian, and she made it very clear she didn’t like guys flirtying with her, but the second Riddick opens his mouth she’s his, it seems, and I don’t like that at all. (Though, I suppose I have a cheek – I don’t date guys but if Chris Pine or Karl Urban were to flirt with me I’d probably swoon.)

Whilst I wouldn’t say this movie is a blockbuster or even in the top ten movies of this year, it’s definitely enjoyable and I think the fans will love it. This movie more or less saved the ass of this franchise, so it should be given some respect.

Movie Review: Insidious Chapter 2

Title: Insidius Chapter 2
Released: 2013
Director: James Wan
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne
Rating: 4/5

This was one of the most anticipated horror movies on 2013, and I was super lucky to get to attend a double bill showing of the first movie followed by the sequel and I will tell you one thing, watching one after the other was the best way to see Chapter 2 for the first time. I loved the first movie and the second did not disappoint. I was half expecting not to enjoy it as much, if I’m honest, but this movie really exceeds expectations.

First of all, the acting. Wow. I keep trying to talk to people about this and I feel like I’m not getting my opinion across. Patrick Wilson is a fantastic actor and one of my favourites, and this performance in this movie is insane. Despite the fact he’s in the whole movie, I felt like he wasn’t because he was more or less playing two parts (the possessed Josh, and the real Josh who is stuck in the land of the dead type place). By playing the possessed Josh (or Parker Crane, as the spirit is called), Patrick Wilson makes it seem like it isn’t him. I spent half of the movie feeling like he wasn’t in it! Now THAT is the mark of a good actor, I’ll tell you that.

The storyline of this movie was brilliant too, and the throwbacks to the previous movie were mindblowing. Little things from the first movie were explained, some of which you probably would’t have questioned until it was pointed out to you. And the comedy! Some of the one liners and back chat is so damn hilarious (there’s one scene where possessed!Josh gets a baseball bat and I can’t explain it, but it has me wetting myself every time).

The ending of the movie was brilliant, and as sad as I am to see the Lamberts go, I like that they’ve closed that case. I’m hoping there is a 3rd chapter, and it seems like there might be, what with Tucker and Specs still doing the ghost busting thing (and Elise following them around without them knowing). Also, to those of you who have watched the movie, what do you think the demon at the end is? I swear it’s the red faced demon (or, Darth Maul). The sounds were the same and Elise’s reaction just made it seem like it’s back, trying to latch onto someone else.

I really think everyone should see these movies, though. I didn’t find them scary at all, but the storyline is perfect and it’s just so enjoyable. GO SEE IT!