FILM REVIEW: Sicario

Sicario (Denis Villeneuve, 2015)

Sicario is likely to appeal to a very niche audience. Concerning the Mexican drug crisis, it doesn’t go the patriotic route of putting America up on a pedestal, but nor will it be entirely accessible for all. The first comment from a guy in my row at the conclusion of this film was “it was a bit pretentious”, and while I wouldn’t describe it as such, I get where he was coming from. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: Sicario

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FILM REVIEW: Pan

Pan (Joe Wright, 2015)

Fairies, pirates, and Hugh Jackman. This should have been awesome. And it started off looking like it would be. Initial scenes showing Peter (Levi Miller) in the orphanage carry a sense of excitement, and when pirates start bursting down from the ceiling to whisk away the boys on a flying pirate ship, it seems as if we’re in for a treat. The sequence that follows is incredible, and then we end up on Neverland, where a bunch of ferals scream out a Nirvana number which, quite frankly, is odd. You’re not Baz Luhrmann, Joe Wright. If you’re going to insert a random contemporary musical number, YOU NEED TO COMMIT. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: Pan

FILM REVIEW: Everest

Everest (Baltasar Kormakur, 2015)

Based on the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, during which eight climbers were killed attempting to reach the summit, Everest is possibly the most depressing film of the year, and is accompanied by a pervasive sense of dread. Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) is the head of Adventure Consultants, an expedition company that leads high-paying clients to the top of Everest. Among his clients are Doug Hansen (John Hawkes), who had failed to reach the summit one year prior; John Beck (Josh Brolin), a wealthy doctor who used his climbs as an escape from his depression; Yasuko Namba (Naoko Mori), a woman attempting to reach the last of the world’s seven summits; and journalist Jon Krakauer (Michael Kelly). Over the course of their journey they team up with another company, Mountain Madness, led by Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal). Meanwhile back at base, Helen Wilton (Emily Watson) checks in via radio, and Hall’s pregnant wife Jan (Keira Knightley) anxiously awaits his return back home. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: Everest

FILM REVIEW: American Ultra

American Ultra (Nima Nourizadeh, 2015)

Let’s smoke some weed and kick some arse! That’s not quite so much the premise of American Ultra, but more likely something the filmmakers said as they conceived it. Having already demonstrated his love of excess in his debut feature Project X, director Nima Nourizadeh teams up with screenwriter Max Landis to deliver yet another over the top comedy. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: American Ultra

FILM REVIEW: Graceful Girls

Graceful Girls (Olivia Peniston-Bird, 2015)

Anyone who has ever participated in dance should appreciate Olivia Peniston Bird’s debut feature Graceful Girls. On the contrary, if exaggerated smiles, sequins, and kids slathered in make-up is your idea of hell, you’d best look elsewhere for your cinema fix. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: Graceful Girls

FILM REVIEW: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (Wes Ball, 2015)

The young adult science fiction/dystopian future thing is like, so hot right now, but the overabundance of films in this genre in recent years has made it difficult for many series to stand out. With the best of the bunch, The Hunger Games trilogy, coming to an end in a matter of months, there’s no short supply of franchises to take its place. The Divergent and Maze Runner trilogies both offer up their second slice of pie this year, with one book (read: two films, obviously) still to go in the years ahead. We’ll also get the first instalment of The 5th Wave next year, and who knows what’s going to happen with The Giver, which was critically panned last year, even though Meryl Streep and Taylor Swift were both in it (read: it must have been pretty damn bad considering that casting perfection). Continue reading FILM REVIEW: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials