I’ve reached 100 posts and feel part of this movie reviewing community so I feel open to have fellow movie fans included in my blog. I’m more than happy to have bloggers write up about their favourite movies, why you may like them and perhaps what you don’t like about aspects but mostly I just want to hear from you! The only rule is to score the film out of 10…easy 🙂
So if you want to review a recent film or any favourite film of yours then please contact by commenting below, email me – firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on twitter and get in touch @troyster90.
It doesn’t even have to be a movie review if you so wish, as I’d love to have your talented writing feature on my acting and directing pages, where all you need to do is pick an actor or director and comment on their best film – what you like about it, what works theme wise etc, worst film – why is it bad, favourite film – what makes you love it and what else they’ve done aside from making or starring in films.
I hope to hear from you guys and gals soon and look forward to seeing your reviews of stars and films possibly come my way!
Sincerely yours, The Review Club.
WRITE UP BY: MOVIE ROB for Halloween Club
FILM: AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
“A naked American man stole my balloons.” – Little Boy
Number of Times Seen – Between 3-5 times (Cable in the 80’s and 21 Oct 2014)
Brief Synopsis –Two college students traveling in the British countryside get attacked by a strange creature.
My Take on it – I’m not the biggest fan of horror movies to say the least, but when Troy asked me to participate in his Halloween Club Month, I decided to give it a try.
I saw this movie a few times as a kid on cable and basically forgot everything about it except for the very cool special effects when the main character changes into a werewolf.
I’m still amazed by how they did it 33 years later, which is quite impressive since usually effects from older movies just aren’t as realistic looking as the effects of today. I’m sure in 20-30 years from now, they will be saying the same thing about what we see today.
What’s interesting about the effects is that this movie’s use of makeup gave it the inaugural Oscar win in the new Best Makeup category created after the Academy realized one year earlier with The Elephant Man that such a category truly was missing.
Surprisingly, this award remains the only Oscar ever awarded to a John Landis film since he is mainly known for his comedies.
That being said, there are a few humorous scenes involving a naked man that elicit a chuckle here and there, but overall this movie is more of a mild horror movie that a full fledged one (I’m not complaining in the least about that).
The plot is thin and I can’t really say that this is much better than being a mediocre film.
Regardless, thanks to Troy again for getting me to watch a (pseudo) horror film! Kudos to you my friend!
Bottom Line – Not a great example of a scary horror movie in my opinion but still has amazing special effects when ‘the change’ occurs. Not a typical comedy one would expect from John Landis which surprised many people who went to see it in the theater.
Rating – BAFTA Worthy (6/10)
WRITE UP BY: WRITER LOVES MOVIES
FILM: BREATHE IN
In 2011 director Drake Doremus gave us a beautiful drama about a long distance relationship thwarted by an overstayed visa. Like Crazy’s appeal resulted from the naturalistic style Doremus elicited through improvised performances and lead actress Felicity Jones took home the Sundance Festival’s Special Jury Prize.
In 2013 Doremus followed up Like Crazy with Breathe In, another naturalistic drama with Felicity Jones in the leading female role. This time the drama follows an English exchange student, Sophie (Felicity Jones), who takes up residence with an American family headed by father and music teacher, Keith (Guy Pearce). It’s not long before Sophie and Keith are drawn to each other. Keith’s wife frequently belittles his passion for music and desire to quit teaching for an orchestral seat, while Sophie is damaged by the death of her music-loving uncle. On paper it’s a fairly predictable plot but Breathe In has a mesmeric quality that comes from its naturalistic performances and Doremus’ commitment to atmosphere.
During the film’s early moments, Sophie is seen reading Jane Eyre. It’s a book Breathe In draws on heavily for its potent sexual tension. Doremus allows the relationship between Sophie and Keith to develop gradually, encompassing doubts and self-restraint as well as indulgence and passion. Breathe In eschews sex scenes and nudity in favour of burning looks, a surreptitious hand on the arm and nervous fingers intertwined. This somewhat old-fashioned approach feels refreshing and modern in the hands of Doremus whose palette of washed out blues and greys suffuses his film with despair while its searing tension rips and claws at your heart.
Music takes on a powerful role here too. Sophie’s first piano performance plays out as both a seduction and furious resistance to Keith’s authoritarianism. Later, there’s an almost operatic climax as the film’s various strands pull together in a cataclysmic conclusion.
Doremus and co-writer Ben York Jones craft their characters with depth and complexity. Nothing is clear cut and it’s difficult to take sides. Keith is a conflicted father and husband. Sophie’s youth and love for music offer him a route back in time, an opportunity to start afresh, but it’s hard for us to root for him. We’re also aware that Keith is acting foolishly and represents a dangerous love interest to Sophie who is vulnerable in spite of her intelligence and free spirit. The lines are further blurred by Pearce’s impeccable performance that stings with pain and regret.
His burgeoning chemistry with Sophie feels very natural – it’s an alluring by-product of improvisation – as their conversations develop through varying degrees of awkwardness. But Breathe In is an intimate film where the locked gaze of Jones and Pearce says as much as the delicate, tentative dialogue.
Keith and Sophie’s relationship plays out in contrast to the desperate cries for attention that Keith’s daughter, Lauren (Mackenzie Davis), makes of despicable, womanising boyfriend Aaron (Matthew Daddario). Do her reckless actions result from Keith’s emotionally absent parenting style? And how differently should we judge Keith’s own infidelity? Keith’s wife, Megan (Amy Ryan), watches Sophie with suspicion while she feels her husband slipping away. Is Megan aware of her own role in the marital breakdown? Breathe In’s solitary omission is Megan’s under-explored character.
Breathe In is not a formula romance. It’s an intricate, poignant exploration of adultery, love and regret. With Guy Pearce and Felicity Jones both at their best, Breathe In cements Drake Doremus as the rising star of naturalistic drama.
Verdict: 4.5 stars
WRITE UP BY: RUFFELL REVIEWS
FILM: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS
So I went to go and see ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ and I have to say after sitting there for 2 hours, seeing those credits role and leaving to walk out afterwards, my first thought was… there were no Faults in these Stars my friend. Okay maybe a couple and we will get into them I can assure you but the stars still shined bright all the same! As most of you may already know ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ film is based on the worldwide best selling novel of the same name by John Green, who you may know from his previous novels prior to this one or you may know him as one half of the ‘vlogbrothers’ on YouTube OR you may even just know him simply because of the buzz of this book because that’s exactly how I discovered him, in other words the lazy way of discovering something. When it was first released back in January 2012 I didn’t pay attention to it at all but had heard everybody going absolutely crazy over this book and some of these people being my own friends but that still didn’t really encourage me to read it, now I don’t think there has been one title out there where I have read the book before seeing the film and it’s not something I plan, it just happens and it was no different with this one! Although after watching I will definitely be checking out the book now. Let’s get in to the actual film shall we?
So the basic outline of the story without giving too much away surrounds a teenage girl called Hazel who is a cancer patient whose life pretty much only revolves around hospital appointments and reality TV shows she watches at home to cope with her own not so fulfilling life you could say, the subject of support groups gets brought up which her mum pretty much forces the poor girl to go to, Hazel FINALLY gives in to attending just to please her. Come on Mum! She just wants to stay at home and watch TV and read that damn book that she goes on about throughout the movie which I must add I don’t know the name of and can’t really be bothered to Google at this moment in time to find out. Where was I? Support groups! Ah yes! At one of the support classes she meets one Augustus Walters who was a cancer patient that has just come out of remission and takes an immediate interest to Hazel which is the start of a story in which you could say Hazel reaches some sort of fulfilment which is what she was perhaps missing, this is something that I can only describe as truly touching without giving too much away.
Now I know what you’re thinking, it’s what most people probably thought going into this movie without reading it first “so boy meets girl, they fall in love, how cliché” it really isn’t like that all in my opinion, I feel the story teaches a lot of morals surrounding life itself and living it to the absolute fullest despite your situation and that is a constant theme in the film, grabbing life by the scruff of the neck and not letting go! I think this is the running theme throughout. Another theme that is played out in the film is the feeling of not taking the people in your life for granted and being really thankful for the people that you have around you, I certainly got that as I was watching and that feeling grew as it went on, I suppose you could say that that ties in with the theme I originally discussed which is living life to the fullest because you never know when your last moment will be and don’t take for granted the people you’re doing these things with because you never know what could happen to them… okay wow that got deep… let’s lighten things up a bit shall we and talk about the cast!
Shailene Woodley plays the role of Hazel who really took me by surprise in this one, I mean not only did I think she done an exceptional job as the character but Shailene is incredibly beautiful, now I am convinced that she is an angel who came to the audition wearing a halo and wings, I think one of the things that made the film more sensitive for me is the fact we are given this delicate subject being played out in a story with the casting of a woman with the sweetest face and the most delicate voice. I must add that this delicate voice also narrates the film too! Bless you Shailene. In a positive way… looking at her just made me want to cry. I’m actually a teddy bear for things like that. Now I am just talking about this from a movie standpoint because as I mentioned before I haven’t read the book (and I’m going to keep saying it till you are sick of it) but I know there are people out there who have read the book that may say differently because of how she is described in it and how her character differs, this is one of many reasons why I am looking forward to reading it personally because for all I know she could be exactly the same which suits me! Now Hazel’s love interest Augustus Walters is played by Ansel Elgort who I enjoyed watching on screen also, his character is very inspiring which is what I bought into with him, this pays homage to the script because of the lines he was given and also not forgetting it pays homage to the book which I’m sure most of the same lines are in there too but I’m sure the book worms can confirm this for me or I will do so myself once I have read it.
So this is primarily a love story about two people okay and when you’re talking about them on screen together I don’t think the chemistry between the two characters was anything special, I mean there were a couple of moments, like literally 2, the chemistry was sort of felt when the two would share a joke but that was about it. I felt as if the chemistry between Hazel and her parents was even better and more chemistry felt to be honest, naturally you would expect that with your parents right? But I’m strictly talking on screen partnership here. Let’s just say Hazel & Augustus weren’t Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper chemistry level and definitely not at Rachel McAdams and Ryan Reynolds chemistry heights, it just seemed very forced and awkward for the most part. The Forced in Our (Movie) Stars. I need to mention and talk about some other actors in this film who I think deserve to be mentioned because in case you guys didn’t know already the film doesn’t feature only two characters believe it or not. OH YES! The first is Nat Wolff who plays Isaac, who is a friend of Augustus’s that suffers from eye cancer that also attends the support groups, the reason I would like to talk about him is because I really did enjoy his role within the film, he is quite a quirky character and a couple of the gags I enjoyed in the film featured him, his story intrigued me because of how the character develops like whilst he deals with the things going on in his own life he also tries to juggle everything else that is going on around him which is never an easy thing to do which made me really relate to him . William Dafoe makes an appearance as the Green Gobli… no I’m kidding but no matter what film I see him in the Green Goblin stigma will never budge, not me for anyway, DAMN YOU SPIDER-MAN! Yeah but in this he plays Peter Van Houten who is the author of the book that Hazel has read 50 million times that I have already mentioned that I forgot the name of and as we progress I still cannot be bothered to Google the name so sorry not sorry. I’m not going to reveal how he comes into it and what his role is specifically but he is arguably in one of the most powerful scenes in the entire film which I think he done an amazing job with, so look out for it people!
Now let’s not take anything away from the story, the bad chemistry between the two main characters didn’t ruin it for me by any means. The whole thing felt like a roller-coaster because as an audience member sitting there watching this thing, I felt as if I was being pulled in quite a few directions which kept me on my toes whilst watching which is never a bad thing. The nature of what I was about to watch I did anticipate this to be honest so that didn’t come as too much of a surprise, the story is very emotional and if you’re a softy like me you will find tears flowing down your cheeks at quite a few points in this one, not only are the scenes that I was witnessing largely emotionally driven but a lot of the language used was too, I mentioned Augustus being inspiring because of his lines but that is only half the story, it is one of the most quotable films I have seen this year/the last couple of years which did leave me with a really warm feeling inside as I felt I really took something from what I watched and that I could share with others and possibly even inspire them the way it inspired me.
I did feel emotionally attached to Hazel and Augustus and found myself caring about these characters as the story developed and same goes for most of the characters to be fair which is always a good thing when it comes to this type of film and I really hope the book gives me the same feeling, I think my only criticism apart from the chemistry of the two which I have already spoke about is some elements seemed really rushed, just how the transitions were quite fast with certain things that were going on inside the story like one minute this is happening and then the feeling of “oh wait.. how did we just get from that to that? I need a better explanation” type thing. yeah only a couple of times though but they were at very important points in the plot without giving too much away… yeah how many times have I said that in this review? Hey stop counting! I see you! Anyway speaking of counting I’m going to give this one an 8/10 and would recommend it to all the hopeless romantics like myself. Good day… now where is that book?
WRITE UP BY: THEFLIMCULB
FILM: MOONRISE KINGDOM
Wes Anderson is one of those directors whose films are ripe for the age-old, and over-used, adage, ‘you either love it or you hate it’. Personally, when it comes to Wes and his cinematic offerings, I’m a lover not a hater. But if you’re not a fan of quirk and whimsy then I suggest you look away now.
Moonrise Kingdom (2012) is set on the fictional island of New Penzance, off the coast of New England. And let’s just say, if it weren’t fictional I’d have already packed my boxes and secured the services of removal firm. The central characters of the film are youngsters Sam (Jared Gilman), a wise-beyond-his-years, pipe toting, orphaned boy scout, and Suzy (Kara Hayward), an aloof but observant, possibly depressive pre-teen with a penchant for the music of Francoise Hardy. After becoming acquainted at the local am-dram production of Noah’s Ark, the two begin a pen-pal correspondence in which they secretly plot their escape from their respective lonerdoms. When the day of the great runaway arrives, Sam comes prepared with maps, whistles and camping supplies. Suzy bring sci-fi novels, a record player, assorted records and a kitten, because, seriously, what more does a person need? At the discovery of the two missing youths, Suzy’s parents (played expertly by Bill Murray and Francis McDormand), Sam’s scout group led by Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton), and local policeman and boat-dwelling bachelor, Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis), all burst into chaotic action and the hit the trail of the love-struck runaways.
The film, as is the style of Anderson, is punctuated by the appearance of screen-filling placards of the written word, this time it’s the childlike and charming letters between Sam and Suzy that litter the narrative. And, also the norm for Anderson, he creates not just a story, but a whole world; a fully functioning microcosm, so real that it can be watched with an odd sense of nostalgia even in those of us who grew up in ‘90s United Kingdom. Moonrise Kingdom is set in 1965, it is a time when children played outside and adventures were not confined to the virtual reality of whatever console is currently in gaming vogue. But it’s not a perfect world. Suzy’s parents reside in a deadpan marriage and converse only by shouting from room to room. Her mother frequently mounts her bicycle and disappears to share a cigarette and more with Captain Sharp. And Sam is not only on the run from the boy scouts, but also from Social Services. Why are those words capitalised? Because Social Services is the name of the character played by Tilda Swinton. She plays Social Services. No joke.
Moonrise Kingdom is at once detached and touching. As an audience, it feels as though we are viewing the events from a distance, perhaps through Suzy’s cherished binoculars with which she observes, and silently judges, the actions of those around her. The film is hare-brained and hilarious, eccentric and innocent, simple and yet excruciatingly detailed. It features the kind of cast that can only be boasted by an Anderson creation and the genuine and solid performances that go along with it. There is no mistaking Moonrise Kingdom for the work of anyone else, and it shares themes with other Anderson classics. With The Darjeeling Limited (2007) and The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), its common denominator is a dysfunctional family. With Life Aquatic (2004), the similarity lies in the essence of an outlandish mission. And with Rushmore (1998), a theme of childhood schemes is shared. So why, if this film has so many links with its predecessors, is Moonrise Kingdom still enjoyable? Have we not seen it all before by now? Well, the saying goes, ‘if it aint broke, don’t fix it’, and Anderson’s unique style and strong sense of storytelling is still very much functional.
The film is clearly a member of the Anderson family, but it’s as fresh-faced as its young actors. It is a summer getaway on a never-dull island, a trip back to childhood and the study of a lovable and undeniably ridiculous community. It’s Wes at his best. And I give Moonrise Kingdom a nine out of ten. “Only nine?” I hear nobody asking. Well yes, it loses one point for some slightly uncomfortable pre-teen underwear dancing.
WRITE UP BY: THY CRITIC MAN
FILM: 22 JUMP STREET
“Skipping classes! Kicking Asses! (No, I did not steal my tagline from the poster).”
FEATURING: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Peter Stormare, Ice Cube, Amber Dawn Stevens, Wyatt Russell, Jillian Bell, Nick Offerman, Rob Riggle, Marc Evan Jackson & The Lucas Brothers
DIRECTING VISION: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
SCREENWRITER: Michael Bacall, Rodney Rothman & Oren Uziel
The success or failure of a romantic flick is dependent on how strong and believable the chemistry between the two leads are. Chemistry is the key word here! Any director or studio with the right amount of money can handpick recent Oscar winners Matthew McConaughey and Cate Blanchett and toss them in a romantic movie together! The expectations are sure to be sky-high! This idea sounds stellar on paper right? The truth is that the winning formula may not be found in sheer acting ability. These two souls must give the impression that they were meant for one another and that is the only surefire way to guarantee success! It goes without saying that solid acting and a commendable screenplay is also required! Why in the world am I rambling on about romance flicks in a review of 22 Jump Street?
This is because buddy cop or bromance flicks follow identical requirements! Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon? Chemistry! Paul Rudd and Jason Segel in I Love You, Man? Chemistry! Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels in Dumb and Dumber? Chemistry! Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum in 21 Jump Street? Chemistry! Channing Tatum would never have been a name that could excite me before I witnessed what he was capable of with Jonah Hill at his side! When you think of the funniest actors in Hollywood…he fails to make that list. Hell, if you name fifty of the top current males in Hollywood based on talent alone….chances are that he would fall short. Tatum’s performance in 21 Jump Street expressed both signs of general improvement and precise comic timing through his delivery of dialogue! The humorous yet very emotional friendship between undercover police officer protagonists Morton Schmidt (Hill) and Greg Jenko (Tatum) is perhaps the most compelling aspect of 22 Jump Street! If someone told me that they were friends from birth…I would not be the slightest bit surprised. They are a pairing who bounce off one another perfectly and share a wild enthusiastic presence onscreen!
What is the mission this time? A new drug is on the loose and it is up to the trusty tag team who saved the day on 21 Jump Street to go undercover in COLLEGE! Undercover work whilst having a ton of fun with drugs, girls and sports! You know the drill by now folks! Remember how The Hangover II unsuccessfully reused the same formula from the original? Okay, I will take that back considering how much richer it made everyone involved. The Hangover II was extremely successful in the box office. However, critics were far less than impressed and a fair bit of folks who enjoyed the first (myself included) left the theater disappointed! Phil Lord & Christopher Miller do the exact same thing with this sequel and the plot structure seems relatively familiar! Really? Did the talented men responsible for directing quality films such as The Lego Movie, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, and 21 Jump Street decide, “Hey, f$%# it. We can be lazy now!”? Fortunately, 22 Jump Street incorporates self-awareness and a distinct sense of cleverness into the familiar territory setting itself apart from the rest of the pack. This movie ruthlessly bullies the concept of sequels and viciously attacks the fact that it even exists. It is a walking, talking spoof with characters making direct albeit intelligently written references to what they are ribbing! Example: Deputy Chief Hardy (Offerman) explaining, “Just do the same thing over again”, to his fellow officers!
These filmmakers are fully aware of what worked with the original and simply provide more of it for our entertainment value. We liked Captain Dickson? Okay, lets give them more Ice Cube! Folks did not get enough of Mr. Walters? That is okay! Rob Riggle will make a few dick-less cameos! I must say that Ice Cube is as awesome as….having ice cubes in a drink on an excruciating hot day! I know! That one was terrible! But the point stands….Ice Cube is flat-out hilarious in 22 Jump Street. From his exaggerated anger to his golden facial expressions, Ice Cube has proven that he can be an asset to any comedy film! Channing Tatum embraces his dumb jock role masterfully and is never afraid to poke fun at himself for the sake of a joke! Jonah Hill is Jonah Hill! Jillian Bell earns herself recognition with her incredibly blunt delivery and the adorable Amber Dawn Stevens radiates charisma as Jonah Hill’s love interest! The Lucas Brothers are guaranteed to be acquiring film roles more frequently after their memorable appearance here!
22 Jump Street is a smart movie wrapped up and delivered in a very big and purposefully “dumb” package. The plot and happenings in this movie are heavily cartoony instead of plausible and the shameless silliness may be considered overboard for some folks. With that said, the satire always remains witty. Additionally, noticeable changes can be found in the script despite events playing out in near identical fashion to the original. You may think something is going one way only for the screenplay to cleverly switch it up when you least expect it! This film hardly feels repetitive and comes fully capable of providing consistent laughter to those who appreciate the humour! It is also worth noting that this film has the absolute best closing credits scene in film-making history! I refuse to argue this point!
Superpower Film Scale: 4.5/5
1: Villainous Waste 2: Careless Bystander 3: Hero unaware of powers
4: On the verge of greatness
5: Heroic film
Standout acting heroes: Channing Tatum (Shocker eh?) & Ice Cube