King of Thieves – Trailers & Clips!

When there is a good story, there’s always plenty of movies about it. So following on from indie film Hatton Garden Job , here’s King of Thieves…which is about the Hatton Garden Job.

The movie, believe it or not, is about the Hatton Garden Job in which a bunch of old geezer robbed a high-end jewellery story only to turn on each other once they have the loot.

The difference between this and the aforementioned film is that it looks to be playing up more of the comedic elements of the thievery.

There’s also Micheal Caine, Ray Winstone, Jim Broadbent, Charlie Cox, Paul Whitehouse, Michael Gambon, and Tom Courtney, which is an amazing cast. Oh, and it’s directed by James Marsh (Theory of Everything,) so this film has a lot going for it. What do you think?

King of Thieves is out September 14th.

Black 47 – Brand New Trailer!

There are plenty of revenge movies out there, but none, seemingly, like Black 47 .

Set in 1847, during the Great Irish Famine, the film revolves around a man seeking violent justice after the English have destroyed is home and family.

Starring Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea, Barry Keoghan, Freddie Fox, and Jim Broadbent, this looks to be an outstanding thriller. What do you think?

Black 47 is out in Ireland on 5th September 
UK on 28th September 

Lizzie – Brand New Trailer!

Lizzie Borden was an infamous murderer who gained nortoriety by slaying her family. But was that the truth? Here’s a brand new cinematic explorataion.

Lizzie tracks the life of Borden and the abuse she suffered at the hands of her family, claiming to have a shocking troubled end.

Starring Chloe Sevigny and Kristen Stewart, this looks to be an amazing thriller. What do you think?

Lizzie Borden is out later this year! 

Ready Player One – DVD & Blu-Ray Review

It’s 2045, and the world is an awful place to live. The poor live in the “stacks”, unsafe high rise trailer parks, while an evil corporation, IOI, keeps them there by encouraging them to stack up debts that are impossible to pay off. Everyone escapes the awfulness of reality by entering The Oasis, a VR world where you can do, be or have anything.

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The creator of the Oasis, Halliday (Rylance) has died, and IOI are keen to get their hands on the rights to the Oasis, to take control of it and make it lucrative rather than free for everyone. But to do this, they’d have to find the clues that lead to the Easter Egg at the heart of the game which would grant them control. So far no one has found any clues, until Wade Watts, aka Z, (Sheridan) manages to find the first one. With the help of his friends, including online best friend Aech (Waithe) and the girl he has a crush on Art3mis (Cooke), he sets out to find the egg and keep the Oasis as a haven for everyone. But can he outwit the evil Sorrento (Mendelsohn) who is determined to win at any cost?

Based on the book by Ernest Cline, Ready Player One is a film full of 80’s nostalgia because of Halliday’s obsession with that era. Old games, books and films are referenced everywhere and with great love, which makes having Steven Spielberg as the director an added layer of nostalgia, though he doesn’t reference his own 80’s film classics.

It’s a film for gamers or action lovers, with it’s focus on light, sound, action and spectacle. There are some truly exciting set pieces in this film, and one that you’re going to get a real kick out of seeing on the big screen. Car chases, otherworld avatars and anti-gravity dance floors are all huge spectacles, thought the smaller VR scenes are beautifully realised too. Most importantly, in the masterful hands of Spielberg, it’s more than just a spectacle, unlike a lot of blockbuster films of recent years. It’s fairly light, but the characters are all well delineated and give good performances. Yes, you’re going to be blown away by that world creation, but you’re also going to hate that bad guy, and want to see the good guys win, and in that sense, it has a lot in common with classic 80’s adventure films, which is a nice subtle touch. This film uses character to make you care about what happens, to make you invest in those big scenes.

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Though the characters appear in live action and in the VR world of the Oasis, they are whole and well realised, and never feel wooden in when they’re VR. They’re clearly recognisable. The central performances from Tye Sheridan as Z, our brave hero and all round good guy, and Olivia Cooke as the brave adventurer and love interest Art3mis are really beautifully are really warm and real. They feel down to earth even as they go on a huge quest to find keys and save the world. Ben Mendelsohn is a wonderfully despicable bad guy, but he’s not one dimensional, he feels like he has real motivations, although they’re misguided. He’s a dangerous man who genuinely believes in what he does and will stop at nothing to get what he wants. While there are laughs and romance in this film, he’s it’s dark, unimaginative and controlling heart.

It’s a fast paced thrill ride that’s got enough differences from the book it’s adapted from to feel fresh to all those who’ve read it, and yet keeps all the important things intact: the characters, the main premise and the general plot. It’s a star studded cast who make sure the film stays grounded in relationships and emotions, and yet it’s also definitely a delightful tent pole film, with a focus on 80’s music and culture, chases, action, explosions, and gaming. Perhaps a bit loud and overwhelming for some, it’s an incredible feat of film making from a masterful and imaginative director, and well worth a watch if you like your films big. (I do!) It’s a great ride, and should please sci-fi fans, gamers and a teen audience too. Great fun.

Ready Player One is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now! 

Love, Simon – Review

Same sex love stories in American cinema are traditionally the province of independent films. There have been films that have crossed over, notably 2005’s Brokeback Mountain starring Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger. Essentially, Hollywood relegates gay characters to the supporting cast, or presents them in a farcical setting, notably in the Robin Williams-Nathan Lane box office hit, The Birdcage (1996).

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Love, Simon
, adapted from Becky Albertalli’s young adult novel, ‘Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda’ by Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker and directed by Greg Berlanti, who began his career on the popular TV series Dawson’s Creek but more recently produced the superhero series’ Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl, is potentially a game changer, a film that normalises homosexuality currently playing in over 2,000 screens across America. It is released by 20th Century Fox, a studio that attempted this once before, with the 1982 film, Making Love, starring Michael Ontkean as Zach, a married Los Angeles doctor who finds himself drawn to gay hedonist Bart (Clash of the Titans’ Harry Hamlin). In that film, as the advertising makes clear, Zach’s wife Claire (Kate Jackson of Charlie’s Angels fame) had to deal with her unexpected ‘problem’, apparently the only way Hollywood could portray homosexuality in America under Republican President Ronald Reagan.

Thankfully, though not fast enough, perceptions have changed. Love, Simon has a story that is relatable to gay and straight audiences alike. It is about a young in-crowd High School student, Simon (Nick Robinson, last seen in Everything, Everything) who finds a soul-mate on line in the mysterious Blue, a young man who writes about his gay identity online, but hasn’t come out to his family yet. Simon, who is exactly in that position, opens up and the two begin a correspondence that stops short of them meeting. Then Simon’s secret is discovered by another student, socially-awkward Martin (Logan Miller), who is nuts about one of Simon’s best friends, Abby (Alexandra Schipp) and blackmails him into engineering a date.

As irritating, dweebish and opportunistic as Martin is, we don’t totally hate him, because he is like every teenager who wants the opportunity to impress the beautiful girl who doesn’t notice him. However, in admitting Martin into his group, Simon is drawn into deception that drives his friendship with Abby, Nick (Jorge Lendeborg Jr) and Leah (Katherine Langford) apart.

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Berlanti directs with a lightness of touch that extends to a sequence that asks ‘why don’t heterosexuals have to go through a declaration of sexuality to their parents?’ This is a cue for an amusing montage. Tony Hale provides comic relief as the smart-phone confiscating teacher, Mr Worth, who knows that social media has its place, but not in his school halls. Essentially, this is another of those High School movies in which adults barely register.

As far as we can tell in the movie, Simon’s role with his friends is as designated driver – he also encourages his younger sister’s dubious cooking. The film has so much plot that it scarcely squeezes in a ‘normal’ conversation, except when Leah opens up about her feelings. Meanwhile Simon assumes the role of detective, quizzing potential Blues, but finds that he can’t keep doing disagreeable things for good reason.

The finale is immensely satisfying. Perhaps the film’s most radical moment is not the gay kiss but that, given the opportunity, Simon doesn’t deliver a single sock to the jaw of the weak-willed individual who compromised his status quo in a way that, say, Holly Gennero (Bonnie Bedelia) deals summary justice to reporter Richard Thornburg (William Atherton) in Die Hard.  Incidental pleasures include a football game embarrassment and a fancy dress party, both of which ensure that apart from its message of tolerance and equivalence, Love, Simon delivers the pleasures of the High School movie.

Love, Simon is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now! 


The Producers – 50th Anniversary Review

Mel Brooks is a comedic genius. His work has spanned decades; 50 years of spoofs, satire, and slapstick and complete immortalisation the cinematic history. His works have produced monsters, sported sheriffs, and even went to a galaxy far, far away.

His directorial debut, however, was the darkly humours, but absolutely wonderful The Producers. Earning the director an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, the film is considered one of the best comedy films of all time and has gone on to become a stage musical and spawned yet another movie based on that musical.

Half a century later, audiences are still flocking to the movie and there are very good reasons why.

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Starring the late Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel, The Producers revolves around old theatre pro Max Bialystock. Max was considered one of the best but his recent works have flopped, turning him into a wash-up producer with no hit, no money, and no prestige. He lives month to month by liaising with elderly ladies in order for them to cough up some cash. That’s when a scheme ends in his lap – if he sells shares to a play guaranteed to flop, he’ll reap the rewards as everyone will presume it had made no profit. Roping in his accountant Leo Bloom, the hunt is then on the find a failure which seems a dead cert with the play…Springtime for Hitler.

When the film first came out in 1968, it caused a bit of a ruckus. The deeply dark comedy about two Jewish theatre owners conning Broadway out of money with a musical about Hitler caused many critics to slam the show (ironically, not seeing the film for the satire it is.) However, over years, it  has garnered such praise. Though it does smatter with directional flaws as a debut feature would, it is a terrifically realised movie that exposes the big business side of art. It serves as a deeply cutting commentary on how theatres, movies, and art are churned by those looking to earn a quick buck. The  movie, in its outrageous vulgarity is hilariously spot on.

What works best for the film is the absolutely outstanding double-act in Mostel and Wilder. The big and brash Bailystock makes a superb accompaniment to the nervous, blanket clasped Bloom. The astute actors bounce lines off one another, with Wilder’s charming crazed antics gaining traction as Mostel’s greedy and seedy Max gets in deep with his own scheme. Without this chemistry, the film would’ve lost it’s slickness in telling the brilliant jokes.

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For those still bemused by Hollywood; seeing those cartoon big bucks in producers eyes every time another spandex clad blockbuster comes out on the big screen, then The Producers still has that droll air to it. Brooks’ dry humour is a testament to great and honest writing; the scandalous and the extreme pushing the boundaries of the candid.

Paired with a phenomenal double act, The Producers still stands as a marvellous comedy – a truthful one five decades later. Completely unmissable for the casual and hard-core cinema fan.

Happy 50th The Producers!