Monday, 16 December 2013

Weekly Round-up #2

So another few weeks have passed without me doing any writing but after attending four screenings last week I thought it was only fair to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard as it is these days) to give you the heads up on some upcoming releases.

The secret life of Walter Mitty - released on 26/12/13

Ben Stiller shows a serious side in this beautifully realised drama as he takes audiences on a journey into the imagination of Walter Mitty; a middle aged man whose flights of fantasy help him to escape the doldrums of his plain life, and proves his worth as both an actor and director by telling an uplifting and inspirational story. Those enamoured by films such as The Science of Sleep and Wristcutters: A love story, will feel right at home in Mitty's daydreams, and when he embarks on a journey far more incredible than he could ever imagine, audiences will inevitably be eager to go along for the ride. With superb performances from a supporting cast that includes Sean Penn and Kristen Wiig, this is an innovative and competent fantasy that will inevitably strike a chord with audiences come boxing day. 7.5/10

Mandela: Long walk to freedom - released on 03/01/14

There's no denying that the story of Nelson Mandela's life is a powerful and captivating tale, even more so with his recent passing, and director Justin Chadwick has done an admirable job of turning it into a film, but there is something amiss that prevents this biopic from truly resonating with the audience. Idris Elba's turn as Mandela cannot be faulted, and Naomie Harris is likewise incredible as his wife, Winnie, who stands strong in the face of great adversity throughout their tumultuous relationship. As an insight into Mandela's life the film excels, but as a human drama the film fails to deliver, which is a disappointment considering the impact such a courageous man has had on the world today. Mandela: Long walk to freedom is still essential viewing, but could have been something really special - 7.5/10

Last Vegas - released on 03/01/14

On paper Last Vegas really shouldn't work; it's being sold to audiences as The Hangover for an older generation, and I can easily forgive people who dismiss the film's concept (I had the same misconception), but this is a touching and heartfelt comedy that is a surprisingly effective slice of entertainment. Veterans Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas and Kevin Kline play a group of old friends reunited for a bachelor party when the ringleader announces his marriage to a woman half his age, and despite their initial reluctance, the quartet soon begin to relive past indulgences in the city that never sleeps. Both humorous and heart-warming, Last Vegas is the perfect way to beat any January blues - 7/10


Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones - released on 03/01/14

Having stayed away from Paranormal Activity 3 & 4 after the disappointment of the first sequel, I had almost zero expectation that a spin off could deliver anything as compelling as the original, but I was willing to take a chance on this latest offering in the series, and what a wise decision that turned out to be. The Marked Ones shares similarities with its predecessors but remains an altogether different beast; the story veers from sheer terror to dark humour with ease and far from being just another fun ride, the ending will send your head spinning regardless of your level of familiarity with the franchise. A welcome addition to a tired series, The Marked Ones has restored my faith in found footage horror. 7/10