Advertisements
    Advertisements
  • Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives









  • Awards & Nominations

  • Advertisements

Non-Review Review: Black Mass

Black Mass has endearing ambition.

This is an old-school crime biography, one that foregoes clarity or singularity of purpose in favour of sprawling scale. Black Mass covers decades in the life of notorious Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger. The thematic throughline is his connection to the local branch of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Agent John Connolly. Connolly grew up with Bulger, and hits on the seemingly ingenious idea of advancing his own career by bringing Bulger into the fold as an “informant.” It is an arrangement that benefits Bulger and Connolly more than the FBI.

Gangbusters...

Gangbusters…

There is an interesting story to be told there, the tale of two men gaming the system for their own advantage. Many of the stories around Bulger are so ridiculous and improbable that they defy belief; they make for perfect cinematic fodder. With two strong lead actors, and a clear arc, the tale of Bulger and Connolly could be compelling and revealing. However, it also seems far too modest for Black Mass. Although Bulger and Connolly form the spine of the film, its limbs sprawl out in every possible direction trying to cover everything.

It is a valiant effort. There are moments when Black Mass really works as it picks on an awkward conversation or a loaded confrontation. However, these moments feel fleeting; they are a chain of short stories rather than a single cohesive narrative. Black Mass is frequently fascinating but seldom satisfying.

Awash with corruption...

Awash with corruption…

Continue reading

Advertisements

Non-Review Review: Robot & Frank

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2013.

Robot & Frank is perhaps best described as a live-action Pixar film, a lost script or concept from that period only a few years ago when it seemed like the studio could do no wrong. The beauty of films like The Incredibles or Toy Story 3 was the way that these fantasies allowed us to engage with incredibly adult issues in a disarmingly wondrous way. Up could deal with the pain of loss in great detail, because it was really the story of a man flying his house to South America, right? Finding Nemo could play out the darkest fears lurking in a parent’s subconscious, because it was really about cute fish, correct?

And so Robot & Frank provides a wonderful vehicle for the exploration of what growing old really means, and how we cope with the challenges that it presents. Because, after all, it’s just a film with a cute-looking robot butler, right?

Frank'll test his metal...

Frank’ll test his metal…

Continue reading

Non-Review Review: Flightplan

Truth be told, I think part of the reason I have a soft spot for Flightplan is simply because Jodie Foster doesn’t make enough films. She’s an actress who devotes so little time to major releases of late that each of her movies is a gem of itself. That’s not to argue that she shouldn’t spend time with her family or pursue other interests, it’s just an acknowledgement that she’s really one of the best actresses working today and – sadly – works all too infrequently. She’s an actress who can add a high level of quality to what might otherwise be a mundane production, and here she manages to turn a rather disappointing thriller into an enjoyable hour-and-a-half of entertainment.

Aisle watch Jodie Foster in anything...

Continue reading

Something Sinestro This Way Comes…

Note that this article contains spoilers for Green Lantern. So I waited until the movie was released to post it. They aren’t exactly huge spoilers, but consider yourself warned.

It really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell that Sinestro is going to end up evil. Created in the sixties, the character was introduced to fans as a rogue Green Lantern, so he wasn’t ever designed to be seen as a good guy in four-colour style. In fact, the guy is red, has an evil moustache and is played by Mark Strong. Although the name Sinestro could arguably refer to the fact he wears his ring on his left hand, it isn’t exactly a name that inspires implicit trust. So his path to the dark side in the intended-franchise-launcher Green Lantern shouldn’t be a surprise.

However, it really demonstrates a lot of the key flaws with the movie.

Not quite mellow yellow...

Continue reading

Non-Review Review: Green Lantern

Green Lantern is solidly middle of the road as far as superhero movies go. Perhaps in a less crowded (and less high quality) summer action season it would seem a stronger contender, but the film really shows as Warner Brothers’ first major attempt to produce a big-budget superhero film not directly related to Superman or Batman. It’s perfectly functional, managing to do everything it sets out to in a relatively efficient manner, but there’s never really a sense that the film exists as anything more than a series of plot points that need be checked in order for the movie to cross the finish line. Given the potential of the source material, as well as its relatively unique nature amongst the slew of generic superheroes, a functioning and formulaic adventure can’t help but feel like a bit of a disappointment.

Hal Jordan: Space Cop? It has a nice ring to it...

Note: We also have an introduction to the Green Lantern mythos available, if you’re interested in checking it out.

Continue reading

Non-Review Review: Knight & Day

This post is part of James Bond January, being organised by the wonderful Paragraph Films. I will have reviews of all twenty-two official Bond films going on-line over the next month, and a treat or two every once in a while.

Much like Mission: Impossible, while I was watching Knight & Day I couldn’t help but get the impression that Tom Cruise really wanted to be James Bond. And, at the risk of being controversial, if an American actor were ever chosen, I think Cruise would fit the bill nicely. Indeed, Knight & Day feels more like a sort of traditional Bond film than Casino Royale or Quantum of Solace have, and its that sense of endearing nostalgia which really makes the film worthwhile. In a film season packed with disappointing films, Knight & Day is an entertaining and engaging romp which might make you smile as you spend two hours with it.

It's a romantic action comedy, and it has the big guns attached...

Continue reading