Posted by Ali Gray
at 23:15 on 18 Jul 2014
The first Purge movie had a fantastic concept: that sometime in the near future, in order to pacify the populace for the rest of the year, all crime including murder would be legal for one night only. The biggest crime, however, was just how wasted the concept was on a home invasion storyline that barely ventured outside of Ethan Hawke's front door. Thankfully, this year's sequel The Purge: Anarchy goes some way into exploring that ridiculous concept to a more satisfying degree, and in pulling back to a wider angle to see the effect of The Purge on a whole city instead of a single household, it pulls off a pretty good impression of The Warriors to boot. It's time to come out to pla-aaay...
Posted by Ali Gray
at 08:15 on 14 Jul 2014
CGI guys: I think it's safe to say the monkeys look enough like monkeys now. So could we maybe move the focus onto, y'know, the humans? Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is similar to its predecessor, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, in that the revolutionary effects work is so impressive, it successfully distracts from the film's complete and total lack of three-dimensional human characters. Though Dawn is a sturdy sequel that really gets into the swing of things about an hour or so in, it slips on that same banana peel – in making monkey more interesting and more fully-rounded than man, you question why they even bother giving the humans any screen time at all. I can confidently say that a third Apes movie featuring no human characters whatsoever would be the perfect evolution for an otherwise thrilling series that has itself evolved way beyond reasonable expectations.
John Carney's Begin Again, a feel-good acousticky-summery-strummery thing, does a great job of convincing you why music matters so much. Despite a few flaws it even won me over, and I haven't listened to anything outside the Radio 2 playlist for about three years.
Approaching the end of Richard Linklater's 166-minute Boyhood, I realised that some of the early scenes were now something of a faded memory to me, and that I couldn't fully remember what the younger Mason had looked like. This reminded me of some experience or other, which I later realised was that of watching my own family age. And that's because Boyhood is as close as cinema gets to real life.
An age of extinction. Well, it does go on for ages, but Michael Bay's fourth Transformers movie, while offering some CGI spectacle to knock your block off, threatens the eradication of the human race but never treats the prospect with much more than an afterthought.
Ever play that game where you begin with a sentence, then go round the circle and everyone gets a turn to write the next sentence, and you end up with a story? Not since you were nine, you say? OK, bear with me. Imagine that everyone in the first half of the circle was a black-hearted fan of moody, intense home invasion thrillers. And everyone in the second half was Quentin Tarantino at his most excitably goofy. Click to read the rest if you like, but you're pretty much there.
The story about The Four Seasons, as told by The Four Seasons, based on the musical about The Four Seasons, executively produced by Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio… of The Four Seasons. So, in keeping with the theme, here is a review of the film about The Four Seasons by the band themselves. Er… The Four Seasons.
Quite frankly there are too many football hooligan films. So many, in fact, they're dangerously close to self parody. And they almost always feature the same things; double 'ard geezers off their fackin' heads getting 'proper nawty' and havin' it large. There might be some football tossed in too, y'know, for context. Oh, and a smattering of Stone Roses songs. And tracksuits.
"We're reviving a cancelled undercover police program from the '80s and revamping it for modern times..." – if this neat, self-knowing gag from 21 Jump Street made you shoot guns into the air, then you're in for a treat with this sequel, a movie that spends more time playing off its own cash-in circumstances than trying to tell an original story. Which sounds awful, admittedly. But Jonah Hill's second visit to Jump Street pushes this meta theme so much more than before, resulting in a film that, despite deliberately following its predecessor's formula exactly
, feels even more fresh and just as ludicrously funny.
I've always thought the point of found footage movies is to get across the idea that the amateur camera operator faced some sort of danger in filming the incidents, and transfer that danger to the viewer. Their marketing campaigns, from Blair Witch onwards, have usually tried to build a world in which the shocking footage is real and place you within it, some more successfully than others. Fruitvale Station, based on and extrapolating from real footage of a terrible event, shows why that shock value is so hard to replicate.