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LOCKE roundup: latest promotional art + rave reviews

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• Richard Roeper / Richard Roeper.com - One of my favorite movies of the last couple years. Great script, Tom Hardy is f*!&ing brilliant in role.Full Review

• Claudia Puig / USA Today - A magnificent drama that resounds with powerful, universal themes. Full Review 

• Michael Phillips / Chicago Tribune - "Locke" is a solo act, and Tom Hardy is its superbly talented soloist. Full Review

• Mick LaSalle / San Francisco Chronicle - Cinema is not about special effects, but about human emotion and a face in close-up. For those in doubt, “Locke” is the proof. Full Review 

• David Edelstein / Vulture - Tours don’t come much more forceful. Once you’ve taken this 90-odd-minute drive with Tom Hardy, you’ll never forget his face. Full Review

• David Thomson / The New Republic - Locke is the most unexpected, brilliant, captivating movie of the year so far. Full Review 

• Kenneth Turan / Los Angeles Times - It sounds contrived, and it is. It sounds like a bit of a stunt, and it is that too. It may even sound boring, but that it is not. Full Review 

• Manohla Dargis / New York Times - Moment by moment, with a twitch, a shudder, a look, it’s Mr. Hardy who movingly draws you in, turning a stranger’s face into a life. Full Review

• Peter Travers / Rolling Stone - Locke is a powerhouse of claustrophobic suspense and fierce emotion, mostly because Tom Hardy, best known as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, is a blazing wonder as Locke. Full Review 

• Joe Morgenstern / Wall Street Journal - Tom Hardy, the actor who plays [Locke], is by turns spellbinding, seductive, heartbreaking, explosive and flat-out thrilling. Full Review 

• Dave Calhoun / Time Out - This is a masterclass in how the most local, most hemmed-in stories can reverberate with the power of big, universal themes. Full Review

• Leslie Felperin / Variety - An exceptional one-man show for Tom Hardy, this ingeniously executed study in cinematic minimalism has depth, beauty and poise. Full Review

The resoundingly positive reviews were a great relief to Knight, who acknowledged that “man sits in car for 90 minutes” isn’t necessarily a log line likely to send frenzied viewers to the cinema.

“It lived or died by the responses, really — by word of mouth,” said Knight.  (x)

What I loved about The Imitation Game:
  • the a-chronological structure of the plot
  • Joan and Allan’s epic bromance
  • the large amounts of situational comedy largely due to Alan
  • the cinematography, for example the combination of black and white archive footage with diegetic footage
  • how Alan spied a small boy immersed in a puzzle on the train in the very first sequence - great way to highlight character traits
  • that they didn’t bury the audience in technobabble and kept it all pretty basic 
  • how Alan’s backstory was woven into the narration, highlighting certain aspects 
  • also, the Christopher story arc is heart-wrenching 
  • really, I must have gone “awwww” about fifty times
  • how Christopher taking Alan under his wing is contrasted with Alan looked after Joan
  • Keira Knightly’s performance and how she actually managed to impress me and not annoy me despite my inclination to the contrary
  • Benedict’s performance as Alan, respectively Alan’s character in general - I found that the viewer undergoes the same change that Hugh and the others undergo, from laughing at Alan’s peculiar nature to actually caring about him and, if not understanding him, at least accepting him
  • how the film did not shape Alan Turing to be a particularly likable character - in fact they made no secret about how unlikable he could be
  • how after the audience witnessed all that Alan Turing did during the war, the filmmakers emphasized how little his country cared for him afterwards and how insanely daft homophobic laws are and how angry it left me 
  • also, all the actors were amazing, from Benedict and Keira to Mark Strong and Matthew Goode and Charles Dance and …
  • He’s from MI6 - But there are only 5 divisions of Military Intelligence! - Exactly. *chuckles*

And, maybe most of all, how many themes permeated the film from start to finish: 

  • How far should we go for the Greater Good aka ‘The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.’ *hugs-Peter-Hilton*
  • Information is power - as John Cairncross has shown so expertly by blackmailing Alan into keeping quiet
  • Normal does not mean good or better: “It is the people who no one imagines anything of, who do the things that no one can imagine.” - Joan Clarke
  • Being different means you have to adapt, act differently, because the world is unfair: “I’m a woman on a man’s job and I don’t have the luxury of being an arse.” - Joan Clarke

I’m sure there’s a lot more that I could name but I’m still emotionally compromised by this cinematic experience…

Most of the critique I read about Elle Fanning in the film revolved around her having nothing to do but grin. YES. EXACTLY. Those stupid fairies really cursed her – she cannot do anything but be happy and be beautiful. She’s not allowed to be sullen or be ugly or be anything but those two things because the fairies put spells on her, limiting her range and ability to explore the darker sides of life. This is tragic and I don’t see anyone talking about that.
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On Tom Hardy’s portrayal of Ivan Locke:

It’s a very complete portrait of a man — one who can be commanding, weak, funny, loving, cold, single-minded, selfless and selfish — and by the end of the drive you feel like you’ve known Ivan for years. You might not necessarily like him but few could fail to feel for him. It’s an impressive achievement in a very impressive film, one that can only increase the esteem in which both Knight and Hardy are held.  / The Playlist

Photo: Locke press conference, Venice (x)

8

Amelie (2001) - dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet

There’s a smile that crosses your face during Yann Tiersen’s beautiful introductory music. That smile stays there for the next two hours. And potentially for the next week. This film is so overly-happy, that it splits audiences, but not from taste, from optimists vs. pessimists.

Jeunet forces you to see the world through Amelie’s (Audrey Tautou) eyes. And I’m still jealous I can’t view the world through her eyes every day.

8.6

Manners... maketh... man.

What you should be expecting from Kingsman:

  • Brilliantly choreographed (and heavily CGI-ed) fight scenes
  • Porn. Seriously. Weapon porn, glasses porn, suit porn, BRITISH MEN, and… a fraction of an actual porn.
  • BAD PUNSSSSS
  • Destroying the fourth wall with Colin Firth and Samuel L Jackson
  • A bunch of teenagers training and competing against each other to be an agent of Kingsman, which is by the way, not the point of the film. The point of the film is actually Colin Firth. And puppies.
  • A new life aspiration that is to be a knife-legged badass who can still be cute while she cuts you in half.
  • Hardcore violence and gore that doesn’t make you cringe or projectile vomit. The violence is portrayed in a kind of comical, fun way that will make you start laughing and feeling horrible after realizing the dark turns you’ve taken
  • But also, if you’re watching this in Indonesia, expect to get one of the most brilliant scene in this film cut out!!!! Seems like they had to take it out because of the religious sensitivity (pssh) and the violence (boos in the background), but then I don’t see any reason why they still leave the booty scene—which I think is pretty degrading for women. Our censoring agency totally needs to reconsider their priority. Here’s a fuck you for them.
  • I probably need to remind you that this is an English spy film, so please do expect highly exciting espionage thingamajig—secret rooms, British spies, with the classic spy film background music!!!!!!
  • Expect yourselves laughing at more people dying.
  • An ending that is most likely written when the writer is high. But you’ll love it. But I’d still trade the booty scene with the church massacre any day.

“The star, the element that takes The Drop from beautifully shot but relatively straightforward narrative of crime and punishment, is Tom Hardy. Hardy plays Bob, Marv’s cousin and the dutiful bartender at the bar, who keeps his head down, handles the drops, and lives a relatively solitary life.

Watching Tom Hardy act in this film is, in a word, exhilarating. Writer Dennis Lehane’s script (based on his short story Animal Rescue) is simple, elegant, though not terribly full of depth. The depth here really comes from Hardy’s multi-layered approach. On one level he’s sweet, almost painfully average, a little dumb. But, gradually, we learn that there’s an underlying intensity bubbling just beneath the surface, a quality that Hardy has grown increasingly skilful at conveying throughout his career.”

Review: digitalspy.co.uk/movies

Photo: ©Dan Armishaw (please keep photographer credit intact)

Jupiter Ascending centres on a Jupiter Jones, a down down-on-her-luck cleaning woman, and Caine Wise (Tatum), an interplanetary warrior who informs Jones that her destiny extends beyond Earth. 

This film had so much going for it. An interesting story. Interplanetary travel. Sean Bean not dying. More to the point, though, Jupiter Ascending does paint a fascinating universe. Earth and thousands of other worlds like it are owned by different families that act like corporations who seed these worlds. Once these worlds become overpopulated, their people are harvested to create a youth serum that keeps whose run and live in this corporation young for thousands of years.

The film focuses on the Abraxis family, who are one of the most powerful “corporations” and each of its three heirs vie for the control of a place we know as Earth. Standing in their way is our “heroine” Jupiter Jones. The claimant to the throne of the family.

It does sound like a lot to take in and it is. But it is easily the best part of the film. Directors Lana and Andy Wachowski have talent for creating worlds like in Jupiter Ascending (see their Matrix Trilogy and Cloud Atlas) but here, they have created a massive universe in the likes we haven’t seen. They’re very ambitious to have created a film like this and maybe it would have been more suited to something of a television show on HBO or a network of the like. There is so much more of the world that we could explore within the likes of a television show instead of being somewhat constrained to a two or so hour film.

As a result of it’s constraints, the film itself was poorly constructed and I found the most interesting part was picking out how badly the special effects were. It’s a shame because I’ve had friends tell me that the best part of the film, despite all that it was lacking, was Eddie Redmayne’s performance but even that was disappointing. A few people even left the cinema at various points throughout the duration of the film.

Jupiter Ascending was way too long for its own good, also. And I’m fine with lengthy films just as long as they give me something interesting to keep me watching. The script remained average, and was content to remain that way, which frustrated me because it could’ve been so much more.

Seeing some of the costumes was a notable point as some of the dresses Mila Kunis was seen wearing were quite beautiful, but it ended there. The overall film was a mixed bag of what you were ultimately going to get.

After finally seeing the film, I can completely understand why it had to be pushed back to the post-awards season slump of February. The film was meant to be released in the summer of 2014 and to compete with the many other blockbusters of last year but it was delayed because of troubles in post-production and competition around the time of its original release (eg. Guardians of the Galaxy; X-Men: Days of Future Past). It’s clear that it would’ve had trouble against its rivals. But then again, it didn’t do so well without the competition either.

Had the film been more focussed on it’s characters and less on the exposition on the universe, then Jupiter Ascending could’ve become a modern sci-fi class just like The Matrix has.

FIlm-O-Meter: 6/10.

5

The Retrieval (2014) - dir. Chris Eska

This film is a nightmare - from a marketing standpoint. It’s hardly a revisionist Western. It’s starring no-name black actors. The plot is minimal and the pace is… well… the pace is fantastic. Eska’s sophomore effort as writer-director proves a good one. Thank goodness things like Netflix exist, otherwise no one would ever get the chance to view this beautiful film.

It’s not overly impressive, but it’s hard to find a real flaw here. Eska pays homage to his genre, by clearly setting up the finale right from the beginning, and just easing us into the tense climax of the film. Impressive work.

7.7

Flicksation Podcast: Best of 2014 in Film

(Listen to the show on iTunes or Flicksation.com and Like us on Facebook)



The Best of 2014 in Film is 212 minutes of bliss. It’s a marathon of lists and wit only achieved through sleep deprivation, alcohol and a year of great films. Find out Eric, Robert, Ian N and my own Top 10 Films,  favorite Acting Performances, Dance Scenes and about 20 more categories. As well as some Best of 2014 picks from our awesome listeners. 

This show was a rejuvenating joy to record. 



(Listen to the show on iTunes or Flicksation.com and Like us on Facebook)

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What was your #1 Film of 2014?

MORE MOVIE REVIEWS

I see movies for free now! Her’es what I thought of some that I saw recently.

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY: There is no way a human wrote this dialogue. It has to be some sort of robot that only communicates in vaguely sexual farts. Continues the trend Twilight started in young girls who are now old enough to see R-rated films of training impressionable young women to find abuse sexy.

HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2: Remember the charm the first one had? Remember how the characters were likable? Remember how the faithfulness to the 80’s theme was really well done? Yeah, fuck that. Gay penis boner boner nerd penis gay boner nerd penis. Now imagine you miss John Cusack and (if you are male) that you are still coming to terms with your attraction to Adam Scott. Congratulations, I just saved you having to watch this film.

KINGSMAN: Rad. Hella Rad.

BLACK OR WHITE and MCFARLAND, USA: Okay, I didn’t watch these I just cleaned out the theaters but holy shit! Kevin Costner is in two movies that are in a theater! 

It’s hard not to add one more Locke review when it is this eloquent. But at least here’s a different image. Maybe it’s Ivan on holiday. ;)

Tom Hardy dominates the screen in this one-man show / by Ann Hornaday / Washington Post

Ivan Locke has a cold.

The Birmingham construction manager and title character of “Locke” — who, from the sound of his accent, arrived in England by way of Wales — is leaving work on an otherwise ordinary night when, instead of turning left to go home, he turns right. After placing a call to an unknown person on the other end (“I’m on my way; I’ll get there”), Locke commences a 90-minute drive to London, captured in virtually real time over the course of a movie that unfolds like one of the great radio dramas of yore — with the incalculable added value of the great Tom Hardy, here masterfully carrying a taut, engrossing one-man show.

[…]

Written and directed by Steven Knight — the superb writer behind “Dirty Pretty Things” and “Eastern Promises” — “Locke” is so distilled, such a pure example of cinematic storytelling, that it almost feels abstract. In many ways, the movie feels like the reply to a question: What would happen if we pared down moviemaking to its simplest, most elemental bones?

In the hands of a virtuoso like Hardy, the answer is a riveting exercise in voice, facial expression and that mysterious x-factor known as charisma, that ineffable command presence that grabs the audience by its collective throat and never, ever slips.

Knight occasionally breaks away from Hardy’s face, capturing the sheen of the car’s reflective surfaces, then returns to a man bathed in the jaundiced glow of streetlights and his own sickened realization that the life he has so carefully constructed is on the brink of implosion. Then there’s that cold medicine he swigs as the car makes its way on the rain-slicked highway.

Despite Locke’s studiously even-tempered attempts to hold himself accountable for his decisions (his soothing tones recall Richard Burton at his most incantatory), the tension keeps inexorably building, thanks in large part to Knight’s own canny command of pacing, structure and tone. But in terms of emotion, it’s Hardy alone who has made us care about how things work out for Locke. Indeed, it’s only in the final moments of his fateful journey that we realize we were invested the moment he chose to make that right-hand turn instead of left.

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Love It / Hate It is a new segment I’m doing in the month of Sept where salesonfilm and I discuss films we love and hate!

THIS TIME IT’S DENIS VILLENEUVE’S PRISONERS!!