22 Jump Street – 2014

22 jump streetSince making their way through high school (twice), big changes are in store for officers Schmidt and Jenko when they go deep undercover at a local college.

DirectedPhil LordChristopher Miller

StarsChanning TatumJonah HillIce Cube

What we think: Perfect sequels are few and far between, near perfect sequels however are a little more common.

After making everything awesome with their last outing, The Lego Movie, which smashed the box office. Directors Lord and Miller turn their attention back to Jump Street.

With the same smart, witty humour that made Emmet Brickowoski a household name, the same is replicated for Tatum and Hill who as Detectives Schmidt and Jenko get to go undercover in college with hilarious outcomes.

Everything about 22 Jump Street is quick, flash and funny, including the tagline ‘They’re Not 21 Anymore‘ and it’s my favourite comedy of the year so far.

The pair are back undercover and off to college, looking to track down a new drug called ‘WHYPHY’ (Work Hard Yes Play Hard Yes) which is doing the rounds.

The film never takes itself too seriously, and right at the start the writers get a chance to poke fun at the original when Schmidt and Jenko are hauled in front of Deputy Chief Hardy after a bust goes slightly wrong.

22-jump-street-movie-photo-7

“Things are always worse the second time around,” he quips “The first outing, was an unexpected success, unburdened by expectation; this assignment will simply be more of the same, with more money and diminishing returns.” never a truer word spoken.

To put it bluntly, Hardy all but outlines how this next instalment is going to play out.

When Schmidt and Jenko stand outside the church that was once 21 Jump Street headquarters, now brought back by the Koreans, they head across into their new home.

But not before looking over their shoulder at a set of condos being built on, you guessed it, 23 Jump Street. A possible and yet so blatantly obvious nod to a trilogy completion.

The plot is so basic it’s hardly worth taking any notice of, but it’s full of sex-related-low-brow-humour that anyone worth their soul will find amusing.

Hill and Tatum’s chemistry is played out well, and despite them having similar bonding issues as in the first film there are the occasional fresh reveals to keep the film ticking along.

Ice Cube steals almost every scene he’s in as the much angrier Captain Dickson, he’s given a brand new swanky office that actually looks like a ‘cube of ice’, and is the focus of a hilarious mid film plot twist that sent the audience into fits of laughter.

Lord and Miller for the most part play it safe, but its a very good follow up to a franchise that nobody (including the writers) thought would amount to much.

View the trailer…

Visit the IMDB page for 22 Jump Street

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

 

 

Edge of Tomorrow – 2014

edge_of_tomorrow_ver4_xlgAn officer finds himself caught in a time loop in a war with an alien race. His skills increase as he faces the same brutal combat scenarios, and his union with a Special Forces warrior gets him closer and closer to defeating the enemy.

DirectedDoug Liman

StarsTom CruiseEmily BluntBill Paxton

What we think: Say what you will about Tom Cruise he’s always had a knack for delivering a good Sci-fi performance, although for some that is going to be quite a contentious discussion point.

If you take a look at his back catalogue the likes of War of the Worlds, Oblivion and Minority Report all stand out as fun, fast paced action films and Edge of Tomorrow is no different.

Cruise plays Major William Cage, a cowardly officer who has never seen action on the front line, and is happy in front of the camera selling the war against an Alien race to the public.

With most of Europe wiped out by the quick moving Mimics, Cage is sent to join the forces on the ground by General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson), as they push into France.

When Cage is killed in battle (not for the first time) he wakes up to realise that he’s stuck in a time loop with the ability to see just what is coming. With poster child for the war, Rita Vrataski by his side, the pair work together to end the war.

Most people have already described this as a cross between Groundhog Day and Starship Troopers, and to be honest you could label a few more influences on this one including Saving Private Ryan with the gritty battle sequences which take place on the beach and prime similarity.

However, the film is so much more than that, and where other Sci-fi-time-travelling-adventures fall down Edge of Tomorrow capitalises on them in a heart pounding instance.

Doug Liman who has been an integral part of the Bourne franchise brings something fresh to this, adapting the novel written by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, called All You Need is Kill, it comes with three writing credits pinned to it.

d77f56478491199b_large

Cruise is on top form once again, clearly enjoying his role more when he can be a slimly blackmailing bastard. He is flanked by great support with Bill Paxton as Master Sergeant Farell, getting to command his own group of Colonial Marines who wouldn’t have been too out of place sat aboard the Sulaco.

Blunt is badass as Vrataski, who puts Cage through a torturous training regime and takes great pleasure in putting him out of his misery when he fails time after time.

The pair have solid on screen chemistry together, sharing more scenes of carnage than intimacy so there is never a romantic thread that needs to be pulled.

Underlying humour is neatly placed between the scenes of drama, as each time Cage is killed in new and inventive ways he wakes up in the same spot, on a set of duffel bags amidst a huge military operation underway at Heathrow airport.

It’s a unique story that is shot incredibly well, with some excellent action set pieces that move at a pulsating rate. The film’s climax might wobble a bit but it still manages to hold itself together for what is a decent Cruise actioner.

View the trailer…

Visit the IMDB page for Edge of Tomorrow

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

 

 

 

Oculus – 2014

oculusA woman tries to exonerate her brother, who was convicted of murder, by proving that the crime was committed by a supernatural phenomenon.

Directed: Mike Flanagan

StarsKaren GillanBrenton ThwaitesKatee Sackhoff

What we think: Mirror, mirror on the wall, are there any of us confused at all? That is certainly the question to ask here, as Mike Flanagan delivers up his 2006 short, Oculus: Chapter 3 – The Man with the Plan, to the big screen.

After moving into their new home things take a turn for the sinister as parents Marie and Alan Russell go a little bit nuts, and a little bit dead thanks in part to an eerily looking antique mirror.

Now grown up and trying to forget the horrors of their childhood, brother and sister Tim and Kaylie venture back to the house along with the mirror to exorcise the demons that have been plaguing them their whole life.

oculus pic

Tim only just released from a mental institute seems to be fully recovered and convinced that everything that happened was in fact real. The same cannot be said for Kaylie who is sure that there is a supernatural force at play, and is determined to get to the bottom of it.

With enough modern day technology at her finger tips it’s only a matter of time before her theory starts to become a reality, and the shit really hits the fan. Plants die without warning, temperatures rise and hallucinations take hold.

One of the highlights of Oculus is the acting, Katee Sackhoff and Rory Cochrane deliver spine chilling performances, and give us a real sense of a couple gone bat shit. While the younger Tim and Kaylie go one better than most of the annoying child actors out there today, and make for a believable pair.

The tension is orchestrated well, and builds up at the right times before Flanagan releases the pressure cooker environment at a horrific pace. The gore is few and far between, but Flanagan goes for deep rooted fear than look away shock horrors.

However, for all its neat little scares and tension building scenes Oculus seems to let itself down in the final act. There is a lot going on that its hard to keep a grip of what is reality and what isn’t, the film moves in long tracking shots, keeping the past and present siblings in the same house facing the same terror.

In fairness that should be a credit to Flanagan, who moves the story at a frenetic pace giving the illusion that all will be well in the end, but as an audience we know that is not nessesarily going to be the case.

At the end of the day it’s another family, in another house, fighting another supernatural entity, so there is nothing new here really.

Oculus is an intricate and at times complex story with an ending that is less than satisfactory. Of course it opens the door for yet another franchise to be born, as if the horror genre is lacking in these at the moment.

View the trailer…

Visit the IMDB page for Oculus

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

Metro Manila – 2013

metro manilaSeeking a brighter future in megacity Manila, Oscar Ramirez and his family flee their impoverished life in the rice fields of the northern Philippines.

DirectedSean Ellis

Stars:  Jake MacapagalJohn ArcillaAlthea Vega

What we think: British directors getting behind the camera and undertaking foreign film seems to be paying off in multitude.

Just take a look at what Gareth Evans has done with The Raid and its sequel, taking his central character and putting him through hell while at the same time painting a graphic picture of the film’s surroundings.

Sean Ellis does very similar with Oscar Ramirez (Macapagal), a farmer looking for a better way of life for himself and his family.

Their journey takes them from the quiet and panoramic rice fields of northern Philippines, where Oscar struggles to make ends meet, and moves them to the impoverished surroundings of Manila.

Entering the slums and criminal back streets, Oscar learns the hard way that his friendly personality will and can be taken advantage of. With everyone desperate to survive he has to stand on his own two feet for the sake of himself and his family.

The film paints a desperate picture of a big city bathed in crime and poverty, and desperate people will do desperate things when they are pushed into a corner as Oscar explains to his friend Ong after taking a job as a security guard driving an armoured truck.

Jake Macapagal Metro Manila-01

As Ong and Oscar become close Ong explains the job and then his alterior motives, with the second half of the film playing out as a tense well organised heist, encompassing a twist that is shocking yet wholly satisfying.

It can be hard to watch at times and is emotionally sapping, particularly when Oscar’s wife Mai has to take matters into her own hands by getting a job working in a hostess bar, in order to earn enough to feed her children.

The film screams out that having faith is a clear necessity when you’re down, all around them there are signs that God is with them, willing them to succeed. Oscar’s story about how he lost his job in the silk mill is a running sub plot that connects with the story on almost every level.

The scenes are well shot, and Ellis captures the trauma and euphoria that the family experience at different times. One cross over scene sees Mai being degraded while at the same time Oscar drinks with his new buddies, only to break down in the toilet in tears.

It’s a slow churning thriller that is expertly pieced together, building strong characters and story all the way through to the pulsating climax.

View the trailer…

Visit the IMDB page for Metro Manila

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

We’re The Millers – 2013

were the millersA veteran pot dealer creates a fake family as part of his plan to move a huge shipment of weed into the U.S. from Mexico.

DirectedRawson Marshall Thurber

StarsJason SudeikisJennifer AnistonEmma Roberts

What we think: On paper this should follow the dumb ass comedy blue print, crack pot storyline but bonkers enough to actually be good enough to hold a more than challenging running time.

Couple that with a decent cast and you have the makings of a solid caper. I don’t really like to use the now tried and tested six laugh test, as that has fallen flat on other films that should have romped that number home.

But pass it it did, successful pot dealer David (Sudeikis) has to cobble together a fake family in the form of Jennifer Aniston’s stripper, Will Poulter’s somewhat dimwitted virgin and Emma Roberts as a homeless foul mouthed delinquent.

Together they have to head down to Mexico in order to pick up a ‘smidge’ of weed for laughable drug king pin Brad Gurdlinger (Ed Helms).

The premise is well played out, with the group coming under fire not just from hostile Mexicans but from another family of RV driving nut cases, looking to get in touch with their obscure side.

we-re-the-millers-picture05

The cast all seem to hit their marks with Poulter a particular highlight, most Brits across the pond fail to nail the accent but Poulter captures it well and even gets to live every man’s three way fantasy.

Aniston too does not disappoint, we only hope that her strip routine was all her and not in anyway suggesting of a body double. The quartet seem to work well together throughout, and the gags will draw on genuine laughs and don’t feel like they have been forced into the script.

Its certainly one of the more well deserving comedies, that packs a neat script in with some great scenes reminiscent of American Pie humour.

View the trailer…

Visit the IMDB page for We’re the Millers

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