Category Archives: Film Reviews

My Top 5 Favourite Film Comebacks



‘Everyone loves a comeback story’ – that old adage that rings true throughout all entertainment, sports and media. But of course the most distinctive and popularised is that of the comeback movie. Whether it be a director returning to their roots, a franchise reinvigorated or a troubled actor finding their place amongst the stars again – film lovers and critics alike find a certain new adoration and pride for the ‘comeback kid’ when it all comes to fruition.

Without question, this can trace back as far as the 1970’s. But in recent memory there have been some standouts that not only won me over, but redefined careers.

5. Bill Murray (‘Rushmore’)



After possibly one of his greatest films ever, ‘Groundhog Day’. Murray’s form fell flat through a gauntlet of comedy misfires. But he found his second calling in the form of young filmmaker Wes Anderson in 1998. Co-starring in his second feature ‘Rushmore’ as rich tycoon ‘Herman Blume’. Garnering an entire new audience to the King of deadpan delivery. Additionally, he starred opposite Scarlett Johansson in the rather lovely ‘Lost In Translation’, further cementing his return to form. Subsequently, Murray has featured in some capacity in all of Anderson’s subsequent works and continues to be one of the all-time greatest workers in the business.

4. Ben Affleck (‘Gone Baby Gone’)



Before 2007, Affleck couldn’t shake off the gremlins that were plaguing him since the less than favourable reactions to Hollywood turkeys like ‘Gigli’, ‘Jersey Girl’ & ‘Daredevil’ (although I will argue that the director’s cut of the latter being an honestly decent film). After a string of average movies, Affleck took to the director’s chair.

He co-wrote the screenplay and directed the adaptation of the detective novel, ‘Gone Baby Gone’, triumphantly crafting an engrossing and prodding mystery thriller filled with great direction of tension, drama and acting. Affleck now appears to have moved away from that Matt Damon-sized shadow that had been cast over him for sometime. Becoming one of the most respected and impressive new directors of the last decade. 

He continued hitting home runs across the board with his 2010 film ‘The Town’, which he also starred and the multi-Academy Award winning ‘Argo’. Which everyone loves. 

Of course you do. 

3. Josh Brolin (‘No Country For Old Men’)



Josh Brolin is an interesting guy. While being an extremely talented & versatile actor, he never had been able to lose that ‘Goonies’ annotation that had latched onto him since the 80’s. 

In 2007, (opposite Tommy Lee Jones and Javier Bardem) starring as man on the run ‘Llewelyn Moss’ in the Coen’s masterful modern Western ‘No Country For Old Men’ gave him the massive boost he deservedly received. 

Brolin is now enjoying a plethora of notable roles. Including turns in ‘Milk’, ‘True Grit’, a rather awesome one in ‘Men In Black 3′, ‘W.’ and ‘Inherent Vice’. Before the release of Marvel’s ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ last year. Josh was cast in a multiple picture deal as ‘Thanos’, considered to be one of the greatest comic book antagonists of all time.

2. Robert Downey Jr. (‘Iron Man’)



RDJ’s story is the ultimate comeback story. Falling prey to addiction in the 90’s up until the early 2000’s. He successfully recovered and went on to star in ‘The Singing Detective’ and delivered well-received performances in the comedy crime film ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’, as well as one of my favourites in David Fincher’s ‘Zodiac’.

Downey’s casting as genius, billionaire, playboy and philanthropist ‘Tony Stark’ aka ‘Iron Man’ for Marvel Studios has redefined what anyone would consider a Hollywood comeback. His casting was not only a great move by the studio, as the actor effortlessly declares on screen that he was born to portray the character. But also for the man himself. 

As the ‘poster boy’ somewhat, he has helped the studio achieve record breaking numbers in the box office and is one of the most overwhelmingly adored figures at the heart of the franchise at the fresh age of 49. You know who he is.

1. Michael Keaton (‘Birdman’)



It’s one thing to make a comeback, it’s another to make one in an Academy Award winning movie. Yet it’s another to make one in a narrative that perhaps parallels that of your own career to an extent.

I’m not going to detail what Mr Keaton had been upto since his Batman days. All I will say is – bravo. One of the most heavily debated movies of the last few years is ‘Birdman’, which scooped the top honours at this year’s Oscars. Keaton unfortunately lost to Eddie Redmayne for the Best Actor gong, which I really felt was a travesty. Not taking away anything from Redmayne’s performance. I just felt ‘The Theory Of Everything’ was purely made to win awards based on its biopic nature. The other brewing argument that surged the internet was whether ‘Boyhood’ or ‘Birdman’ were the more deserving of the Best Film Award. 

While being a truly good piece of filmmaking, and certainly a labour of love of director Richard Linklater. For me, ‘Boyhood’ and its scoping of American life narrative didn’t break new grounds in what I love to see in film. Inarritu’s movie is as ambitious as it is gloriously compelling. Keaton being the driving force behind it. 

Fly high, my friend.


@Gordondon’s #MTOS – March 1st 2015. Peter Jackson



This Sunday I will be hosting Movie Talk on Sunday (#MTOS to its friends).

The topic will be Peter Jackson.  Coming from a background in low-budget splatstick, he has become one of the world’s most famous directors and has made some of the biggest grossing films of our time, join us in a debate about his work.

As a bonus there will be random prizes (both in the sense that they will be awarded randomly and that the prizes themselves are quite random). 

It is easy to join in, the discussion begins at 8pm (GMT) on Twitter and there is a new question every 10 minutes. 

All you have to do is answer the question using the question number and the hashtag #MTOS.

For example “A1 – this is my answer #MTOS”. 

Questions:

1. Easy one to start, what is your favourite PJ film?


2. What is your least favourite PJ film?


3. What is your opinion of the practice of releasing extended editions of his work?


4. What is your favourite PJ cameo?


5. Which actor/actress would you like to see PJ work with?


6. Which effects do you think are the best example of WETA’s work? 


7. Which book would you like to see PJ adapt?


8. There was criticism of splitting the Hobbit into 3 films.  Now the trilogy is done, do you think it was the right thing to do?


9. PJ has been offered many horror sequels, which horror franchise would you like to have seen him join?


10. If you could choose the genre for his next film, what would you choose?


Movie Talk On Sunday – 15th February 2015. ‘ Michael Fassbender’

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This Sunday I have the honour of hosting #MTOS on Twitter for the third time. I have struggled with topics in the past and this was certainly no different. The topic I settled on was one of my current favourite actors – Michael Fassbender. (Wiki entry)

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Not familiar with #MTOS? Find out more and how you can participate here – What Is #MTOS?

Here are the questions…

Q1. Michael Fassbender’s work has varied since his breakout role in ‘300’. What has been his most impressive performance? #MTOS

Q2. Regardless of his performance – what is the worst project Fassbender was involved in? Film or TV. #MTOS

Q3. ‘Shame’ is a film many thought would earn Michael a Best Actor Oscar nomination. Do you think it was deserving? Is there another? #MTOS

Q4. Which Fassbender/McQueen collaboration is your favourite? Do you anticipate more in future? #MTOS

Q5. Which actor/actress has had the most positive on-screen chemistry with Fassbender? #MTOS

Q6, He’s a busy boy these days. Is there a Fassy-involved project you’re looking forward to in 2015/2016?

Q7. Michael has depicted both famous fictional & non-fictional characters. What part would you like to see him take? #MTOS

Q8. What movies/scenes have best showcased his abilities as an actor? Videos welcome. #MTOS

Q9. ‘Prometheus’ was undoubtedly received to a mixed reaction. Does Fassbender’s ‘David’ merit or discredit the film? Why? #MTOS

Q10. Michael’s first screen role was in ‘Band Of Brothers’. Would you like to see him revert back to TV? Who would he work with? #MTOS

Movie Talk On Sunday takes place on Twitter every Sunday @ 8:00pm GMT. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #MTOS and spread the word!

Scott.


Interview | Hans Zimmer Talks 12 Years A Slave, Superhero Scores and More

Scott:

Zim, Zimmer!

Originally posted on AMONymous:

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A look through Hans Zimmer’s discography reveals a truly staggering body of work; The Lion King, Gladiator, The Dark Knight trilogy and countless other films have been blessed with his gift of musical storytelling. Now a 30 year veteran of the industry the film composer is still at the top of his game, and on behalf of HeyUGuys I was lucky enough to chat with him ahead of the home entertainment release of the brilliant 12 Years A Slave.

So vast and varied is Zimmer’s catalogue and so excited was I to to speak with him that the 15 minutes I was granted felt like 5. Nonetheless it was a fascinating conversation, and here he speaks about working with Steve McQueen, the challenges when coming up with superhero scores and a special edition re-release of his work on The Lion King. Have a read below.

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The Problems Of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′ (SPOILERS)

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Evening all. Some people reading this will know, from my activity on Twitter and on the Bastnerds podcast, that I have been an avid Spider-Man fan for the best part of 25 years. I recently took part in a spoiler podcast with Chris Byrne, Christopher Ejizu and Amon Warmann for Marc Webb’s latest effort – ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′.

On the recording, I was pretty critical and decidedly negative about the movie as a whole. Give it a listen here.

Now, instead of a review. I decided it would be more ‘my style’ to basically talk about why I didn’t enjoy the movie as much as others. There are more issues than what I talk about here. These are the worst offenders, in my opinion.

So here it is, my ANAL-sis for ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′. Yes there are SPOILERS, so don’t moan.

 

1. Jamie Foxx’s character is fucking wasted…. And I don’t mean drunk.

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Jamie Foxx plays electrical engineer Max Dillon at Oscorp, later transformed into the villain ‘Electro’. From the marketing (extensive within the first 6 months of promotion) of the movie, Electro is extremely prominent and was confirmed as the ‘lead protagonist’. However towards the tail end of the marketing campaign, I noticed that the focus shifted from Electro and more prominently to Harry Osborn (Dane Dehaan) and Oscorp. This seemed odd – but I remained excited to see the final product.

Now I’m not saying that Electro is a BAD character, or that Foxx doesn’t do a great job. Quite the opposite actually. The issue with Electro is that his character is built up to absolutely be a potentially awesome and dangerous villain for Spidey (Andrew Garfield) – but as soon as he’s built up, he’s left hanging in limbo. While Osborn’s ‘sickness’ plotline is fast-tracked through the movie’s midway point (more on that later). Dillon is the sympathetic, misunderstood man that becomes endowed with immeasurable power while struggling to fit in with the norms of society. Max, through his own admission,  just wants to be noticed. In terms of personality, being polar opposite of Spider-Man is a potentially fruitful plot device – As we could potentially see the character gradually unravelling through his jealousy of Spidey’s attention – THEN develop him into Electro, powers and all. Give him something to run with first. The direction they took the character was rushed and half-resolved until a convenient way to bring him back into the narrative was presented through Harry Osborn.

*Side note – that whole Doctor Kafka/Electro conversation felt completely ill-judged and seemed to be hammed up as fuck.*

 

2. Uncle Ben’s murderer…. Yes, remember now?

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Ben Parker (portrayed by Martin Sheen) is the moral compass and strongest paternal figure of Spider-Man/Peter Parker. So whether you’ve seen the comics, the cartoons or the movies themselves, you know that he’s a prominent fixture in Spidey adaptations.

Marc Webb’s first Spider-Man movie was pretty much a retread of Raimi’s original in regard to Peter and Ben’s relationship. Culminating in a robbery that Peter had the opportunity to stop, electing to ignore it. Which in turn resulted in the fatal shooting of his dear old Uncle. In ‘ASM 1′, there’s a meaty sequence where we see Peter attempting to find the killer, using a likeness as a template. Unfortunately, there’s no resolution. And Peter vows to find his uncle’s killer. So were we expecting to see this plot point, this massive part of Peter’s life at least continued? Of course……..

Barely even mentioned. That’s right.

 

3. Hollywood 101 – Using the last shot in the movie as the last shot in a trailer.

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Paul Giamatti’s  Aleksei Sytsevich is introduced at the top of the movie. Attempting to steal plutonium (why? who cares!), and is quickly and effortlessly thwarted by Spider-Man (again, spoiled by the trailers and tv spots). At the film’s end, we find out Oscorp made a big robot suit, and apparently Sytsevich is qualified to operate it….. Enter ‘Rhino’, his giant robot suit and its Transformeresque nonsense that pulls Spidey out of the doldrums and back into saving the day mode. Cue the dramatic final shot…. That we’ve all seen months prior. Killing any anticipation for the next movie.

Way to go guys, you fucking turnips.

 

4. Harry Osborn and The Mystery Of Harry Osborn.

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Dane Dehaan’s casting as Peter Parker’s best friend, Harry Osborn, was particularly one of the movie’s strongest. Dehaan is absolutely commanding in his conveying of emotionally tumultuous characters. He does indeed showcase this as the young Osborn, later as this movie’s incarnation of The Green Goblin (never Christened/labelled). But like Max Dillon’s character, it’s underdeveloped and a hugely missed opportunity to demonstrate one of the key relationships in the life of Peter Parker. Harry just appears out of nowhere after a decade (?) away and there’s no real in-depth insight into their friendship or what’s been going on with Harry himself – the whole thing feels rushed and only as a servant to get things moving with the Sinister Six development. This becomes more apparent when Harry’s ‘sickness’ conveniently becomes more aggressive after his father Norman (Chris Cooper) is killed to death by the unnamed genetic disease. Peter and Harry’s brief time together feels vacuous because we, the audience, have seen Peter go through these differences and changes in his life, without Harry around. For the friendship to look and feel natural and resonate – Harry needed to be a figure in Peter’s life during the events of first movie.

Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies showcased the pair as school friends right from the get go. We knew exactly what motivations Harry had for going after Peter by the third movie, and it was an actual, properly constructed plot that made sense in terms of the story and its development of the characters. Here, it’s condensed into about 30-40 minutes.

 

5. Richard & Mary Parker Became Sony’s Bitches

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Maybe not everyone felt this way.

We know Richard and Mary were both involved in Oscorp and the experimentation that was going down. Spider-Man himself being a successful result of this. To me, this all seemed irrelevant to the story as a whole. Peter just wanted to find out why his parents had to leave him and to understand the reasoning behind it. Now, as the second movie progresses, we find out that Richard worked with Norman on many ‘cross species’ experiments in aid of potentially curing Monster Mash and his fingernails. Eventually leading to Richard removing himself from the project and thus getting ‘removed’ permanently on an airplane during the film’s opening sequence.

From this, and the subsequent reveal of Oscorp/Ravencroft’s intention to create a group to, I dunno, take over the world… It felt like the true nature, the raw humanity and the effects of the Parkers’ absence from Peter’s life had been substituted, or rather discarded in favor of just a cheap. convenient method of pushing the establishment of more villains. Sequel bait, folks! $$$$$$$$$££££££££££$$$$$$$$$$ 

 

 

 

So there you go. Anyone agree? Disagree? Send me your thoughts.

 

Love you lots.


Special Feature | Summer 2014 Blockbuster #AMONTAGE

Originally posted on AMONymous:

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Hey readers!

Once again, summer blockbuster season is upon us! As the summer blockbuster mash-up I did last year proved quite the hit, I’ve decided to make it an annual fixture. For the past three months, I have toiled over the 2014 edition, and it gives me great pleasure to post the finished version today, EXCLUSIVE to AMONymous.  Enjoy, comment, share, and most importantly…ENJOY THIS YEAR’S SUMMER BLOCKBUSTERS!

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Six Of The Best Literary Adaptations

Originally posted on Charlie Derry:

(Written for HeyUGuys)

If you’re a fan of literary adaptations then no doubt you’ll currently have your head stuck in a copy of Joyce Maynard’s emotional coming-of-age novel Labor Day, Nick Hornby’s heart-warming suicide drama A Long Way Down, or maybe even Veronica Roth’s debut dystopian Divergent. What we’re looking forward to most, however, is Richard Ayoade’s upcoming adaptation of Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s dark comedy novella, The Double.

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