The Inbetweeners 2 – 2014

Inbetweeners_2_Movie_PosterJay, Neil, Simon, and Will reunite in Australia for a holiday.

DirectedDamon BeesleyIain Morris

StarsSimon BirdJames BuckleyBlake Harrison

It’s as straight forward as you could possibly want it. Three lads go to meet up with one lad in Australia.

It’s a sequel people begged would happen and they got their wish. There is not an ounce of disappointment as banter levels are raised.

Jay is on a gap year down under and catching up with the guys via email he let’s them know he’s up to his neck in clunge and making a shit load of cash as a top night club DJ.

All complete bullshit of course. But it’s delivered in a brilliant continuous shot that opens the film.

For the others the chance to break the monotony of their current lives could not come soon enough.

Will who is decidedly more unpopular than ever, Simon looking to escape his psychotic girlfriend and Neil who is, well, same old Neil all feel that the time is right to go travelling (or on holiday).

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It would be hard to review this without going into too much detail and if that were the case some of the best gags and laughs would simply be ruined. So I’m going to keep my mouth shut.

That said Damon Beesley and Iain Morris do their best to make sure this adventure leaves a lasting memory with some exquisite scenes and class gags.

The cast all deliver as you would expect and there are a few nice supporting additions (Will’s Mum for one).

Given the success of this a third film would seem likely, but it’s going to take something pretty special to top it on almost every level.

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What did you think of the film, leave a comment and let us know.

Starred Up – 2014

starred upA troubled and explosively violent teenager is transferred to adult prison where he finally meets his match – a man who also happens to be his father.

DirectedDavid Mackenzie

StarsJack O’ConnellBen MendelsohnRupert Friend

Prison dramas don’t get much grittier than this. Not since Scum has there been one with as much brutal tour de force.

Eric (Jack O’Connell) is ‘starred up’. A term used to describe violent young offenders moved straight into an adult prison.

Once he gets inside he comes face to face with the only person that might be able to control him, his father Neville (Mendelsohn).

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It’s a major part of their relationship as Nev’s parental tactics involve the cruel to be kind method. It’s the only way that Eric is going to survive and the only way he will walk out in one piece.

Eric finds some solace in Oliver (Friend) whose anger management sessions are a place to unleash a tirade of resentment. It places him within a group where any other individual might find themselves out of their depth, Eric takes it full on.

The film itself is written by Jonathan Asser, a former prison psychotherapist who worked in HMP Wandsworth. So he more than anyone is able to inject the film with a massive sense of realism.

The prison violence can be hard to watch  but you don’t find yourself turning away from the screen. The brutality an integral part of the story.

It’s not shrouded in Hollywood gloss and is shot with graphic precision. Mendelsohn’s performance is excellent playing the psycho and his delivery is spot on. Friend is also a joy to watch and a real talent. The Homeland star making imprints into the acting elite.

However, this is very much O’Connell’s film and it’s not hard to see why he is fast becoming a standout actor. Grabbing this role in a vice like grip he battles with his own personality, the adoration from his father and a corrupt system who want him eradicated.

It does’t paint the prison system in a particularly good light but then prison isn’t supposed to be a holiday camp.

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What did you think of the film, leave a comment and let us know.

The Last Days on Mars – 2013

last days on marsA group of astronaut explorers succumb one by one to a mysterious and terrifying force while collecting specimens on Mars.

DirectorRuairi Robinson

StarsLiev SchreiberElias KoteasRomola Garai

Another B-movie, straight to DVD space horror that had the chance to be truly terrifying but ended up falling flat on its arse.

A group of astronauts are winding up their last few days on the red planet as they wait for the next team to arrive.

When one of them makes a scientific discovery in the form of a new strain of bacteria they head out to claim it for themselves putting the entire crew in danger.

There is nothing unique here that hasn’t already been tried before, if this was to succeed at all then the execution had to be better.

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Visually it ticks all the right boxes with set design and location being winning points. It’s the lack of originality that is the most frustrating.

The cast is not given any credible dialogue and it’s as dry and barron as the planet that they are standing on.

Step back and look at it for what it is and you’ve got zombies in space. The acting is run of the mill and no one in particular stands out as personality cliches run thick.

If the crew of the Nostromo had a reserve team this lot would fit the bill perfectly.

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What did you think of the film, leave a comment and let us know.

Killing Season – 2013

killing seasonTwo veterans of the Bosnian War — one American, one Serbian — find their unlikely friendship turn tense with one of them reveals their true intentions.

DirectedMark Steven Johnson

Stars:  Robert De NiroJohn TravoltaMilo Ventimiglia

I saw the trailer for this a while back, and at the time it looked good.

Robert De Niro and John Travolta go head to head in an action thriller set against a majestic backdrop.

Bypassing cinema this went straight to DVD. So I purchased it hoping it would give me 90 minutes of pulsating entertainment.

It’s fair to say that these two legends of the screen are now past it. They appear to be taking every acting job going. Money surely cannot be an issue here, so I do wonder where their interest lies.

If it was the chance to work with each other then fair enough, but I can’t for one second believe it was to do with the script. Which for the most part is weak and not that engaging.

Saying that it isn’t a total washout and does have its fleeting moments every now and again.

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Tension rises from time to time but it doesn’t hold you for long enough. Acting feels lazy and the less said about the accents the better.

The premise is one that is not unfamiliar and in the hands of a more assured script writer it might have developed better. Or casting two younger more hungry leads could have also achieved a better pay off.

After everything the pair go through in terms of torturing each other both mentally and physically, the ending is some what of a laughable anticlimax.

If you are a fan of these two you might want to look away for the most part. If you’re up for something to pass the time then go right ahead.

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What did you think of the film, did it deserve the harsh criticism. Leave a comment and let us know.

The Expendables 3 – 2014

the ex 3Barney augments his team with new blood for a personal battle: to take down Conrad Stonebanks, the Expendables co-founder and notorious arms trader who is hell bent on wiping out Barney and every single one of his associates.

DirectedPatrick Hughes

StarsSylvester StalloneJason StathamMel Gibson and Wesley Snipes

What we think: Let’s get one thing out of the way first, this isn’t going to be award winning script writing or acting.

This is a pumped up bunch of your favourite action heroes throughout the years, kicking ass and lighting up the screen with explosions, punches, kicks and abject one liners.

You really do have to check your brain in at the door, so it riles me up when film critics go in and slate the hell out of it.

I mean what were they expecting? Since the first film the number of Sly’s expendables has grown, it’s becoming harder and harder to shoehorn the stars into the promotional posters.

In this outing Barney Ross (Stallone) finally comes to the conclusion they just might be ‘too old for this shit’, and so after a botched attempt at trying to capture Mel Gibson’s pantomime villain Conrad Stonebanks he retires his ageing team.

This means bringing in some younger fresher blood, much to the annoyance of the oldies. Of course things don’t go to plan, and it’s not long before Sly is calling on his friends once again.

The main gripe with many people was the PG-13 rating, masses amounts of violence controlled so that no blood is splattered on the screen. This a real shame, as with action films today when the shit hits the fan you want to see some gorerific pay offs, to which in this there are none.

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I find it odd that the first two films achieved an R-rating and now they chose to head down the softer route, was this to capture a larger younger audience, probably, but if that is the case then the pay off has back fired slightly.

The new recruits fit in well, Snipes returns to a major blockbuster and relishes the chance to get front and centre, complete with a dig at his recent stint in prison for tax evasion. Harrison Ford steps in as the CIA spook replacing Mr. Church and does a far better job, his gruffness likeable in every way.

The Expendables biggest flaw is that there are too many big names, making it impossible to write enough dialogue for everyone. Dolph Lundgren is all but forgotten, Jet Li still gets a billing despite having less than five minutes of screen time and Arnie delivers the films only decent quip.

The action is certainly big budget but it feels diluted. Planes, trains and automobiles are destroyed in gargantuan fireballs, but there is nothing that we haven’t already seen before.At the end of it all it’s stupid dumb fun, and what’s not to like about that?

With a fourth film very much on the horizon it might be the last chance for this muscle bound team of has beens to go out on a high note, if that is at all possible.

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What did you think of the film, was it as good as good as the first two or much worse. Leave a comment and let us know.