Fury – 2014

MV5BMjA4MDU0NTUyN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzQxMzY4MjE@._V1_SX214_AL_April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines.

Directed: David Ayer

Stars:  Brad PittShia LaBeoufLogan Lerman

Not many people were convinced by David Ayer’s violent action romp Sabotage. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s DEA agent didn’t really bring anything new to the table other than pure carnage!

Perhaps it might have had something to do with the setting of the film. Or the fact that when the blood shed and bodies piled up nobody really cared too much.

Here Fury’s backdrop is the front line of one history’s most revered and fiercest battles. When men gave everything in order to save humanity from an ungodly real life evil.

The conclusion of WWII is approaching, and for Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier (Pitt) and his crew the end is almost in sight. They’ve battled from the deserts of Africa into the lions den of Germany.

Norman Ellison a young solider is assigned to their tank crew. With no battle experience he has to learn the hard way about what he really has to give for this war, and learn he does.

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Ayer keeps the tension taught enough that even when travelling tanks make head way through the quiet countryside there is an unknowing fear something might happen at any point.

Brad Pitt gives an emotionally charged performance, in command the whole time he’s idolised by his crew. Baring the scars himself, in what surely must have been a written in shirt off moment, we get to see for ourselves.

The band of brothers tank crew including Michael PeñaJon Bernthaland Shia LaBeouf (who knew that he could actually act) all put in a shift, particularly when the chips are down and they’re up against it.

The final third is one of the most pulsating trips I’ve had at the cinema this year, and for me its one of the best war films for some time. Crafted with dramatic interludes while still letting Ayer loose with bursts of action.

View the trailer…

Visit the IMDb page for Fury

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

The Drop – 2014

MV5BMTkyNjMzODUzNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjIxNDI1MTE@._V1_SX214_AL_Bob Saginowski finds himself at the centre of a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighborhood’s past where friends, families, and foes all work together to make a living – no matter the cost.

DirectedMichaël R. Roskam

Stars:  Tom HardyNoomi RapaceJames Gandolfini

A brooding English debut feature from Michaël R. Roskam who cooks up a simmering pot of dramatic intrigue.

Hardy plays Bob Saginowski a quiet unimposing figure who helps to tend the bar of his cousin Marv (James Gandolfini’s last film).

The bar is the main dropping off point for all money collected from mob owned businesses. The location of the bar changes each night.

When the bar is held up the money stolen belongs to the Chechen mob who want it back putting Bob and Marv in a tight spot.

The setting is the streets of Brooklyn where age old mafioso have been replaced by a more brutal foe. In this instance in the form of the Chechen mob.

One night Bob finds a puppy in a bin and upon rescuing it meets Nadia (Rapace) who has a hidden past of her own, one that Bob refuses to question.

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The puppy will certainly tug at your heart strings but it’s Hardy’s spot on Brooklyn accent and good natured personality that wins through. Even when he’s harassed by Matthias Schoenaerts’s Eric Deeds he remains calm.

Deep down however we known that something inside him is going to snap, it’s just trying to predict the moment when it will happen. This makes for an engaging thriller with a twist ending that is more than satisfying.

The Drop is a slow burn the builds from the outset. Its great to see Gandolfini on screen one last time and such a disappointment that he is no longer with us.

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What did you think of the film? Leave a comment and let us know?

The Babadook – 2014

MV5BMjMwODQ3NzUwOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjAyNjUwMTE@._V1_SY317_CR1,0,214,317_AL_A single mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, battles with her son’s fear of a monster lurking in the house, but soon discovers a sinister presence all around her.

DirectedJennifer Kent

Stars: Essie DavisDaniel HenshallTim Purcell

I don’t think The Babadook is particularly scary, there I said it. Don’t get me wrong there are a few moments where you’re likely to grip your seat or lose your popcorn.

This is a film that will unnerve you. Doing so in such a way that it will play on your mind long after you’ve driven out of the cinema carpark.

Amelia (Essie Davis) is a mother on the edge. After losing her husband in a tragic car accident on the way to have their son Robbie (Daniel Henshall) she is tasked with rebuilding her life.

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Robbie at first glance is your average brat. He gets himself into all kinds of trouble and does anything to gain his mother’s attention. Even going so far as to climb into bed with her at night when he cannot sleep himself.

Convinced there are monsters lurking around every corner Robbie’s inventive imagination is able to create a number of home made lethal weapons. One of which ends up getting him expelled from school.

One night Robbie selects a book from the shelf called The Babadook. The first few pages seem ordinary enough but then the dark illustrations and story become more horrifying.

Amelia is up against it as Robbie’s erratic behaviour takes hold of her and sends her spiralling into a world of hallucinogenic insomnia.

The film is limited by vibrant colour. Pale blues and greys are used to portray a dark and moody atmosphere. This is also reflective of Amelia’s state of mind as through lack of sleep she starts to lose her grip on reality and worst of all begin to resent her son.

It’s not main stream horror and it doesn’t rely heavily on tired cliches. It sets out to do something different, telling a story of heart ache and trauma. How people put their lives back together and most of all the need to be loved.

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The Babadook himself is a pretty terrifying figure. A cross between Nosferatu and the child catcher it’s a manifestation sure to put a few hairs on the back of your neck. Perhaps even make it difficult to sleep for a few nights.

There is no need for a sequel or even prequel, and I have no desire to find out about the origins of that book. For once let’s leave a triumphant horror film as a one off, and let the memory of that top hatted silhouette haunt us for years to come.

Visit the IMDb page for The Babadook

View the trailer

What did you think of the film, was it as scary as you expected? Leave a comment and let us know.

Annabelle – 2014

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A couple begin to experience terrifying supernatural occurrences involving a vintage doll shortly after their home is invaded by satanic cultists.

Directed:  John R. Leonetti

Stars:  Ward HortonAnnabelle WallisAlfre Woodard

The Conjuring was last year’s best horror film. Directed by James Wan it terrified most audiences who ventured along to who was signing off from the genre to make Fast & Furious 7. Oh how I wished he’d been directing this!

The opening gave us a short glimpse of Annabelle in what is a genuinely terrifying few minutes.

Giving Annabelle her own spin off film was one way to capitalise on the success of The Conjuring.

Sadly the film felt rushed and despite a so far modest return on the budget (it has grossed over $74m in the USA already) it was still let down by horror cliches.

It missed Wan’s ability to raise tension slowly, creating an eerie atmosphere that you never knew what would happen next.

There were a couple of scares but those jolts should have been expected and were more laughable than shocking.

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The acting at times felt wooden and stale, the script disjointed and uninspiring. Sometimes with horror you just have to think outside the box. In a genre that is ticking along with main stream values.

In this case the box contained a wooden doll without much emotion or feeling. Just like I felt watching this.

View the trailer…

Visit the IMDb page for Annabelle.

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

The Maze Runner – 2014

MV5BMjUyNTA3MTAyM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTEyMTkyMjE@._V1_SX214_AL_Thomas is deposited in a community of boys after his memory is erased, soon learning they’re all trapped in a maze that will require him to join forces with fellow “runners” for a shot at escape.

DirectedWes Ball

StarsDylan O’BrienKaya ScodelarioWill Poulter

I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this, but surprisingly I did. Not having read any of the books before hand I’ll make sure to pick up the sequel, The Maze Runner Chapter II: The Scorch Trails.

The series written by James Dashner is aimed at a teenage market. Although age means nothing to anyone who enjoys delving into a unique adventure.

Its backdrop is yet another dystopian society (not unique), surely this is getting boring now? However, when you get into it, The Maze Runner develops itself into a winning formula for suspense and adventure.

Thomas (Dylan O’Brienhas no memory when he is freed from an elevator and thrust into the lush green surroundings called the Glade.

The Glade is flanked on each side by huge concrete walls which are part of an intricate maze. No one has been able to escape in over three years, and all the boys, called Gladers, live in harmony abiding to a simple set of rules.

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These rules are thrown into chaos as an inquisitive Thomas wonders about the possibility of escape. This leads to a split in the camp and friends soon start to turn on each other.

As the Gladers live a quiet life a small group called ‘runners’ sprint into the maze on a daily basis looking for a way out. Taking notes on each twist and turn, timing everything to the second.

The maze walls close at sundown leaving anyone not quick enough to get back trapped over night with the terrifying Grievers (you have to be paying attention as there is a name for almost everything).

It has a distinct Lord of the Flies feel to it. The main characters, many of whom are not well known, help to build a decent story. Thomas of course, Gally (Poulter) the questionable and aggressive brute. Alby (Aml Ameen) the leader and Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) the non-judgemental voice of reason.

Visually it’s pretty decent, debutant director Wes Ball captures the excitement and drama in unusual surroundings. I was really drawn into the story with the burning intrigue to know why they are there, and who put them there.

Scenes inside the maze are solid, plenty of nifty CGI. Whether it’s fending off Grievers or running for a last closing gap in the wall, it does the job expected of an action adventure.

The closer the film edges to its conclusion (but not a conclusion to the bigger picture) a little more is revealed. The final act wobbles momentarily, encompassing a scene that was set up mid way through and offering no surprise whatsoever.

I thought it was one of the better teenage driven films to be adapted from a book. I’m not particularly a fan of The Hunger Games or Divergent but I imagine The Maze Runner has a lot more to give.

Visit the IMDb page for The Maze Runner

View the trailer…

Listen to the original motion picture soundtrack.

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