Month: May 2015

Review: Ex Machina (2015)

Wow.

Just need to start with that one, having just finished the movie I am still in open mouthed awe. Ex Machina was the breath of fresh air Science Fiction needed this year after a string of batshit horrible movies.

Written and Directed by Alex Garland (writer of 28 Days Later and The Beach) the film has one location, four characters, a lot of dialogue, a fantastic original soundtrack and some outstanding acting from its female lead Alicia Vikander.

A young computer programmer named Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) is selected  to take part in a revolutionary Artificial Intelligence experiment being undertaken by his boss Nathan (Oscar Isaac) who happened to invent the worlds number one search engine. Flown to a mysterious, isolated and beautiful location he is introduced to the AI named Ava (Alicia Vikander) and for the sake of all of you I will not go on with the plot, it’s a journey you need to take for yourself.

Two guys who thankfully are not Channing Tatum

Two guys who thankfully are not Channing Tatum

This isn’t a laser filled, action packed, fist pumping SciFi, it’s psychological, confronting, shocking and keeps you guessing the whole way through. If you have seen the writer / directors other films (especially 28 Days later) expect that vibe. A slow yet edge of your seat thriller where you never quite know what’s going on or where it’s going to lead you with a small cast of brilliant actors.

The character of Ava is (typically) a gorgeous female robot but this isn’t all “weird science” thankfully, she has a lot of depth, a quick wit and takes you on quite the journey!

This movie left me staring at the end credits rolling, listening to the beautifully composed music and literally saying out loud “it’s been a while since I’ve seen a film like this,” the kind of film that doesn’t try and blow your mind with bells and whistles or crazy unexplained bullshit but taps you on the shoulder every once in a while and smirks at your big dumb face while you slowly begin to piece things together.

Machina 03If you like a thriller that doesn’t treat you like a complete dumbass this is going to be right up your alley. It’s a slow paced, well thought out dramatic scifi / psychological thriller which is TECHNICALLY (cinematography, editing, music, directing etc) superb.

I do have a few thought bubbles, but they relate heavily to the plot so I will return to that in a separate post a little ways down the road so I don’t ruin the movie for you, because let’s face it, those reviews with sneaky spoilers are a real pain in the ass.

Go see it for yourself, or don’t, you know, who am I to put thoughts in your head….

Here’s the trailer!

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BAFTAs 2015 – Television awards!

Well it’s time we honour the glorious (predominantly BBC) programs we have all cried with, screamed up, binge watched and obsessed over for the past year with the 2015 BAFTA Television awards! Are you sitting comfortably? Well, let’s begin…

Firstly, it needs to be said that poor Benedict Cumberbatch has been denied once again for his portrayal of Sherlock 😦 the best actor prize went instead to Jason Watkins for “The Honour of Christopher Jeffries.”

Best Actress went to Georgina Campbell for “Murdered by my Boyfriend” an Best Supporting Actress went to Gemma Jones for “Marvellous.”

"Marvellous"

                       “Marvellous”

A big congratulations from us to one of our favourite dramas of the past year “Happy Valley,” the gritty, face punching and intense story that kept us on the edge of our seats and forced us to keep watching until the whole series was over took away BEST DRAMA.

Happy Valley - BBC

                      “Happy Valley”

Another of our favourites “The Honourable Woman” only took away one award, Best Supporting Actor for Stephen Rea, there was a lot of stiff competition this year!

“True Detective” claimed Best International and “Sherlock” took away the Radio Times Award.

Best Comedy / Comedy Entertainment Program went to “The Graham Norton Show” which is not a huge surprise, Graham is essentially a national treasure at this point.

So if you are looking for some new Dramas that will have you gripped from start to finish, I have taken the courtesy of compiling a list of the big winners for you all to check out!

Marvellous – BBC Series
The story of Neil Baldwin, who was born just after the Second World War and was deemed to have “learning difficulties.” This is a series about following your dreams, never giving up and overcoming everything you have to in order to be happy!

The Lost Honour of Christopher Jeffries – Carnival Film & Television Mini Series
Based on a true story surrounding the accusation of a retired teacher in the murder of an ex tenant of his – Jo Yeates. Mostly centred around the media shitstorm and witchhunt that followed.

Happy Valley – BBC Series
Follows the life of Catherine Carwood – the toughest leading lady I have seen in a long time. A police officer in West Yorkshire investigating the kidnapping of a local woman while her own troubling family drama runs as a parallel and equally gripping story line.

Murdered by my Boyfriend – BBC TV Movie
It’s all in the name really. A dark, gripping and distressing tale of domestic violence. Definitely not for the faint hearted and I would like to raise a pretty big Trigger Alert for this one.

Review: Kidnapping Mr Heineken (2015)

Alfred “Freddy” Heineken, I personally owe you a lot considering your beer is one of my favourites, so natural I was delighted to see there was a movie about you! Turns out, Freddy was kidnapped by a bunch of bozos in Amsterdam and had the highest ransom in history paid for his return; this movie is based on the true story of that kidnapping (obviously).

Let’s start with the elephant in the room, the acting… Anthony Hopkins is up to his usual standard of brilliance in the role of Heineken, who it seems was a complete smart ass / hard bastard throughout the entire kidnapping process. The gang of “down on their luck” career criminal bozos are Sam Worthington (that pretty Australian guy), Jim Sturgess (the main dude from Across the Universe), Ryan Kwanten (Jason from True Blood), Mark Van Euewen (not a guy I recognised from anything) and Thomas Cocquerel (ABC dramas).

Pew, Pew, Pew

                   Pew, Pew, Pew

The gang of bozos are… well.. decent. There was an issue where I wasn’t sure if the Australian actors were playing Australian characters or if the director just said “don’t even try to do an accent.” Kwanten slips between British and Australian accents for the entire movie though and it is extremely annoying. Generally the criminals hold their own with their acting throughout the movie especially considering not a single one of them is a likeable character.

TO THE PLOT. These guys are small time criminals, they decide that they are going to kidnap the richest man in Amsterdam and get paid a huuuge ransom (biggest one in history), get away with it and live happily ever after. They were very smart about it, I have to give you that! The way they go about the kidnapping is clever and surprising, but once they have Heineken things get pretty stagnant for a long time. DULLSVILLE.

"I'm tired from carrying this movie"

“I’m tired from carrying this movie”

The only redeeming scenes in the middle of this movie were the few short moments we saw Hopkins, he absolutely crushes it and carries this film solo for about an hour. Towards the end things pick up a bit more and we get to see some more well thought out, clever crime but there is also a very strong moral message which is thrown in your face over and over, subtlety is not even considered. And I can’t stress this enough, NONE of the criminals are guys you will want to succeed, there was one guy I liked for a while but then I realised that was just because he barely spoke..

If you like watching a clever crime unfold, give this a whirl. It’s reasonably entertaining has a few twists and turns and Hopkins as Heineken will give you quite a few lols, such a smart ass. It isn’t some huge blockbuster heist movie though and is a bit of a slow burn, which usually I like. The only reason I am down on this movie is because I just did not like the main characters, so I didn’t invest that much emotion.

Kidnapping Mr Heineken – “Meh, it was okay”

Here’s the trailer!