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thedevilinme
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    • UKTV Drama / TV Channel / 3 Readings / 3 Ratings
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      24.04.2015 22:23
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      (Rating)

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      • "Amazon – £5.00 DVD (Blue Ray £6.40)"
      • "Genre - Action"
      • PG13
      • "106 minutes ( USA)"
      • "Star – Liam Neeson"

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      Non Stop - A Liam Neeson film on UKTV (Sky Ch 69)

      There’s a bit of Liam Neeson in all of us, why he is so engaging and vulnerable on screen. No one quite does pathos and anxiety like the big Northern Irishman. In the early days before acting Liam was a forklift operator for Guinness, a truck driver for TNT, an assistant architect and an amateur boxer, amongst other jobs. He had originally sought a career as a teacher by attending St Mary's Teaching College, Belfast. His career peaked with his astounding performance in Schindlers List but tailed off after he chased the big bucks playing iconic historic figures and the disastrous mid nineties comic book movie genre movies. But in 2008 he was in the cult hit Taken and since then cashing in big time by pretty much playing the same vigilante character in the same film but in a different order over and over again. Non Stop is just another fun version of Taken. He strikes me as an insecure working-class actor that turned down the chance to be one of the greats by filling his pockets while he could. But we will let him get away with that as he has made some cool movies. He is certainly a trooper, pulling himself together after the sad death of his wife Natasha Richardson in a freak skiing accident and finishing the final scene of this movie, even when he was Suffering a mini stroke in that final scene.

      ===Plot===

      Washed up boozy ex cop Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) is onboard a flight to London when he receives a threatening text from an unknown person. Bill Marks is the Air Marshall for the flight and the man on the Blackberry is threatening to kill someone every twenty minutes on the flight, unless the airline deposits $150 million dollars into a bank account number provided. He knows the texter is on the plane as they know his actions but they are halfway across the Atlantic and so know turning back. He now has to his job and try and work out who it is and stop the killing.

      After the first twenty minutes a man does indeed die and so a very serious situation and not the suspected prank he thought. Marks is in touch with the ground and the pilot is now aware of the threat. We have been introduced to various passengers by this point in the movie and everyone under suspicion, including his seating companion Jen Summers (Julianne Moore), who quickly becomes part of his trusted circle as he tries to keep the passengers calm by telling them as little as possible. But when a second person dies he can no longer contain the situation and also becomes a suspect by his proximity to the dead bodies as his troubled past is revealed. It turns out the bank account is registered to him and he is the only one on board with a gun and so a possible hijack situation. The twists come thick and fast like the dead bodies thereafter as the Air Marshall tries to convince the crew and passengers he is not the bad guy here..


      ===Results===

      It’s certainly a topical movie after the German Wings and MH370 tragedies and enjoys playing with post 911 paranoia that keeps those intriguing and troubling news stories alive and more and more of these movies on our screens. The irony is the locked cockpit door protocol is going to cause far more pilot suicides, hijacks and terror attacks than the open door ever did, why it was never locked. I remember being on an Olympic Airways flight with the door swinging free as we took off and the co-pilot standing in that doorway smoking a fag chatting up the stewardess. The number of flights being bought down by suicidal pilots is far higher than we are being told because the airlines are far more libel if that is ever discovered.

      Neeson is again solid as a man with faults he must overcome to save those around him and has the audience on his side for all of these movies, why he keeps making them and why we keep watching them. This one did $228 million back from a mid range $50 million budget and so evidence of the winning formula. I must admit I do enjoy them and can watch Taken over and over again.

      Non Stop is exactly that and a tense, taught and claustrophobic throughout and you buy into the Hitchcockian plot as the twists and suspects pile up. Director Jaume Collet-Serra skillfully sets up each character as a suspect and then throws up a cheeky spinnaker or two as the film heads off in a different direction. You do kind of work out at least one of the bad guys but as there are so many possible villains the director always stays in control of the mystery as he reels you in with suspense, paranoia and excitement. Its genuinely good fun and a well made thriller. Baring in mind 97% of the movie is set inside the plane that’s no mean feat. He also uses social media well and no ignorance of it like you do get in other movie genres like horror. In fact modern media communication is the driver of the movie. The distinct lack of evidence of social media and cell phone action on Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 makes the disappearance all the more intriguing. Surely somebody got a text or email off when the 777 changed course?

      I was surprised to see Oscar winners Julian Moore and Lupita Nyong'o in token ‘totty’ roles here but reassuring in a way as you know they only took this film because they knew it was an above average script and idea for a cool action movie. It’s a shrewd film, too, in the way it exploits all the in-flight air disaster movie clichés and although it uses most of them up you are never mumbling about that fact. It reminds me of Flightplan with Jody Foster meets Red Eye with Cillian Murphy and Passenger 57 with Wesley Snipes, Downtown Abbeys very own Michelle Dockery playing the Halle Berry distressed but stoic stewardess role. I guarantee you will enjoy this guys and Liam Neeson on good form. It really is top end popcorn thriller stuff.



      ===RATINGS===

      Imdb.com – 7.0/10.0 (162,234votes)
      Rottentomatos.com –% critic’s approval
      Metacritic.com – 56% critic’s approval
      Leonard Maltin Film Year Book –





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    • The Iceman (DVD) / DVD / 7 Readings / 5 Ratings
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      21.04.2015 23:13
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      • 234votes)
      • "Imdb.com – 6.9/10.0 (47"
      • "Country – USA"
      • "Certificate – 18R"
      • "Run Time – 106 minutes"
      • "Genre – Drama"
      • "Star – Michael Shannon"

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      The Iceman cometh




      Michael Shannon is one of those actors that are in loads of stuff but you don’t really recognize them until they have a big hit, Boardwalk Empire in his case, the simmering ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) agent Van Alden. Now you know him he pops up everywhere, old and new films, and the star of this enjoyable and talent packed movie. He is a formidable looking chap and does oafen angry very well at six foot-four.

      The Iceman is the dramatization of the life of sociopathic mob hit man Richard Kuklinski, finally caught by the cops after killing a lot of people between 1948 and 1986. He was known as The Iceman for his extreme calm qt the point of kill and freezing the bodies for two years or more so to mask the time of death from the cops. His family and wife had no idea of his double life in the underworld. He even claimed to be responsible, a long with four other men, for the kidnap and murder of former Teamsters union boss Jimmy Hoffa on July 30, 1975, in a restaurant parking lot in Detroit, one of America’s greatest crime mysteries. His five-man team were allegedly given the $40,000 contract by the Genovese crime family. Kuklinski said that he knocked Hoffa unconscious with a tirejack and, while holding Hoffa's chin up, thrust a hunting knife into the back of his head. A 2006 book claims Hoffa's body was then placed in the boot of a car that was then crushed and sold as scrap metal to Japanese car makers.


      ===Plot===

      From a young age sociopath Richard Kuklinski (Michael Shannon) was a killer. He will slice a guy’s throat over a $10 gambling bet and doesn’t like being humiliated in front of, or by, his friends. He works in America’s underbelly where men like him are very useful, running a porn movie studio for associates of the New Jersey mob when we pick up his life. His wife and friends think he works making cartons and none the wiser of the company he keeps. But when the mob shut him down they find another use for Kuklinski’s psychopathic tendencies, a hit man, under the control of Roy Demeo (Ray Liotta) of the DeCalvancante family. Kuklinski proves to be rather effective and stealthy and quickly known as the Iceman.

      When Josh Rosenthal (David Schwimmer), a member of Demeo’s crew, whacks two Columbia guys during a drug deal to steal the coke and the cash, the Gambino Family put pressure on Demeo to ‘clip’ Rosenthal as the dealers belong to the feared Cali Cartel. They don’t want a war. But Demeo can’t do it and decides that its best for his crew to lay low for a bit, which means Kuklinski is now unemployed.

      With a young wife (Winona Ryder) to provide for and a kid on the way he needs to work and decides to go against Demeo’s orders and go freelance, working with fellow contract killer Mr.Freezy (Chris Evans), who works out of an ice cream truck (hence the name) for the seven NY families. But things soon get complicated when some of his targets are friends of Demeo’s and his family soon comes under threat by mob guys looking to shut down an increasingly unstable Kuklinski.


      ===Results===

      I didn’t know what to expect from this but really enjoyed it. The DVD dust cover suggested low budget fare but it’s packed full of a cool retro cast from the gangster genre and a great true story for director Ariel Vromen's to get his teeth into. The critics complained that it was rather too Scorcese but I would say good - we like Scorcese and really miss his mob movies. Having Ray Liotta in there playing to cast brings back great memories and he does add to the movie.

      This guy killed a lot of people for a lot of other people and so hard to build any sort of narrative over the 40-years this guy operated and so slightly sketchy there. The director does his best with the great cast he has at his fingertips and no doubt draws from previous mob movies with the films better scenes. There is a lot of Goodfellas here. But it works and you are entertained as the brooding giant Shannon menaces and gurns away on screen as the body count rises. You get that feeling that the cast were chasing Oscars and signed on for the decent script and subject matter and it’s certainly better than American Hustle on similar themes. I genuinely think this is an above average Italian American movie on a genre that is sadly neglected now.

      Although it’s pretty good and strongly cast and well written no one watched it, doing just $4.4 million from its $10 million budget. The costs were low as the cast took on the project for the industry low fee in pursuit of those awards. Maybe the money wasn’t there to publicize it but it seems to have been buried under the premise it’s a low budget crime noir indie, which it clearly isn’t. Its definitely one to checkout if it pops up on Film4 and I promise you will be enthralled by this grim true story. The critics were not as positive as I was as they felt that it was cliché and light on story where I was genuinely drawn into it because of Shannon’s twisted simmering performance. The scene where he lets one of his victims pray to God to save his life is amazing and powerful at the same time.


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    • Olympus Has Fallen (DVD) / DVD / 8 Readings / 7 Ratings
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      19.04.2015 16:40
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      (Rating)

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      • 345votes)
      • "Imdb.com – /10.0 (169"
      • "US "
      • "119 Minutes"
      • "Star - Gerard Butler"

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      • "Bit silly"

      Olympus has fallen on its face?

      In the Year of 2013 there were three, yes three films made about hijacking The Whitehouse. Operation POTUS never got made but Olympus Has Fallen and ‘Whitehouse Down’, did, hunky stars Gerard Butler and Channing Tatum going man-on-mano in the multiplexes.

      Black action director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Shooter The Equalizer and Tears of the Sun) was given $70million to blow up The Whitehouse in this one and indeed he did. I think it’s fair to say Fuqua is number one when it comes to popcorn action movies in Hollywood right now. Gerard Butler is certainly the new king of dumb action movies, The Machine Gun Preacher, Law Abiding Citizen and Gamer examples of. But what woman doesn’t love a big hunky lug with a square jaw and blue eyes?

      Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) has taken a desk job after being unable to get over an accident whilst protecting the President of the United States and his family some 18 months ago. He now works in an office for the Treasury with The Whitehouse just a tourist attraction across the block like it is for everyone else. But he is about to get back in the action when North Korean agents attack Washington DC, Banning taking down a few bad guys on the The Whitehouse lawn but unable to stop a breech as the Secret Service detail and cops are massacred. The President (Aaron Eckhart) flees with his remaining close protection and people to the underground bunker but betrayal meaning they are soon held hostage down there. The US Military and cops can’t get back in a heavily defended Whitehouse by the terrorists as they will kill the hostages one-by-one if they try.

      In the bunker the Koreans, led by head terrorist Kang (Rick Yune), try to get access to various nuclear launch codes and military assets to unbalance the DMZ between the two Koreas, ruthless in their method. They seem to have the situation in control but didn’t bank on Agent Banning, no ordinary Secret Service guy, Special Forces trained and now prowling around upstairs in the broken and burning building taking out Kang’s men. Banning feels he owes President Asher and this will be his redemption, the president’s young son Connor (Finley Jacobsen) hiding in the secret tunnels the first hostage target to free.

      Think Die Hard meets Under Siege (minus the battleship and skyscraper) and you are there, Olympus Has Fallen a classic silly over-the-top exploitation action flick we all secretly look forward to. Dumb action thrillers do well as they are exactly what we want from cinema, uncomplicated escapism with predictable endings. Tweedy film critics tend to disagree and make themselves feel better about having to like boring indie movies by panning films like this. They like Jazz and we like rock. We like rock because we actually like it wheras they like Jazz because they are expected to like Jazz. They can’t say they like Olympus Has Fallen because it’s just not the done thing, as middle-class people would never admit to voting UKIP. It’s a guilty pleasure movie and CGI bonkers fun here.

      Butler is an empty vessel like the plot and box ticks the action clichés one-by-one. Morgan Freeman makes his fourth film as US president. In fact American has had nine black presidents before Obama. The rest of the chunky cast revert to US administration type and its left to Butler to blow everything up in what are preposterous action sequences. You find yourself shouting at the screen that what you just saw couldn’t possible happen by then you think back to 911 and it did happen. Liam Neeson made redemption action movies cool again and modern special effects allow for pretty much anything to happen on screen to feed into our post 911 paranoia. At least Seth Rogen didn’t show up.

      It did more money than the studio thought it would and pulling in a healthy $161 million, triggering a sequel to be set in London. Its not an action movie you would ever watch again but its still fun as Butler picks of fifth bad guys on-by-one with his super fighting skills with increasingly brutal dispatch as we near the bunker. Be warned it’s quite violent at times and not suited to kids.

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    • Granada Plus / TV Channel / 8 Readings / 8 Ratings
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      17.04.2015 13:48
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

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      • "Amazon – £ DVD (Blue Ray £)"
      • " Country – Saudi Arabia"
      • "Certificate – PG"
      • "Run Time –98 minutes"
      • "Genre – World Cinema"
      • "Star – Waad Mohammed"

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      Wadjda - film on Granada Plus ( Ch76 on Freeveiew)

      If ever there was a breakthrough movie for women in cinema it has to be Wadjda, a clever and sweet multilayered film that not only has a pop at the repressive Saudi regime but the hypocrisy of Islam. The fact it even got made is a miracle. Because of restrictions placed on women in Saudi Arabia, director Haifaa Al-Mansour was not allowed to interact with her mostly male crew on the suburbs of Riyadh, the capital of Saudi oppression. She had to direct the street scenes from a nearby blacked out van, watching through a monitor and giving instructions via walkie-talkie.

      Man created God to control women to smooth their feeble male egos, none more so than in Saudi society, women expected to hide if men gaze upon them, why they can’t leave the houses unless in shaded cars or under religious dress. They can’t even legally drive cars. But they sell cheap oil and buy our arms and so it’s ok. This would be the first feature length film made by a female Saudi director and the first feature length film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia. Movies empower people, why they don’t get to make them there. As it was showing subtle decent towards the twisted Saudi regime Hollywood studios heavily supported by Saudi and Middle East oil money were encouraged not to support it in the Best Foreign movie category at the Oscars. It should have won. It’s fabulous. This is feminism in a way men can appreciate. Never has a pushbike been more liberating.

      ===Cast===

      • Reem Abdullah as Mother
      • Waad Mohammed as Wadjda
      • Abdullrahman Al Gohani as Abdullah
      • Sultan Al Assaf as Father
      • Ahd Kamel as Ms Hussa (credited as Ahd)
      • Ibrahim Al Mozael as Toyshop Owner
      • Nouf Saad as Qu'ran Teacher
      • Rafa Al Sanea as Fatima
      • Alanoud Sajini as Fatin
      • Rehab Ahmed as Noura
      • Dana Abdullilah as Salma
      • Mohammed Zahir as Iqbal - the Driver

      ===Plot===

      Wadjda (Waad Mohammed) is a happy young girl but she wants more, a bicycle to be precise. She is little rebel at heart and wears American sneakers under her religious dress and loves pop music, a flogging offence in the more rural areas outside of the Saudi capital. She is determined to raise enough pocket money to buy the bike and has her eye on one in a nearby store, the male owner promising to save it for her. Wadjda has all manner of methods to raise the cash, be it flogging handmade friendship bracelets or selling errands, a determined and intelligent young lady. Girls don’t ride bikes, of course, and bringing shame on her family if she does. But Wadjda is a free spirit and nothing will stop her.

      Her little neighbor Abdullah (Abdullrahman Al Gohani) in their comfortable middle-class suburb takes a shine to Wad and promises to help her learn to ride, a love story of sorts. Baring in mind her 12-year-old classmate Salma (Dana Abdullilah) has been made to marry a 30-year-old man then nothing is impossible in this contradictory country of what it is good and what is bad.

      At school Wadjda’s teacher, Mrs Hussa (Ahd Kamel), attempts to tame the young rebel, convincing her to take extra religious classes to learn greater peace with God. Wadja decides to use the annual Koran competition at the classes to make her point. Wadjda’s mother (Reem Abdullah) is also going through it with martial problems as her husband (Sultan Al Assaf) contemplates taking a second wife. Saudi society is set up to put women in their place and the girls must grab every freedom they can, however small, for Wadjda a bike, for mom, a sexy red dress, and for the hypocrite Mrs Mussa, a fling with a local shop keeper. If only the sisterhood could stick together?


      ===Results===

      This charming, sweet and deceptively simple film about a little girl with a dream that defies the culture, in which she lives, is a breath of fresh air; the insight into her lifestyle, the western things she is just able to do and the culture forced on her are fascinating. We simply don’t know how Saudi women cope with this oppression and the lives they live. This movie has opened those eyes. If men cast eyes over women in lust and admiration it is deemed shameful to the women and not the men and so women and girls have to hideway. What pretty girl doesn’t want to be looked at? It’s crazy.

      The film skillfully disguises its liberal intentions and message with a superbly veiled screenplay pop at Islam and the Saudis, its own metaphorical burka. This is a regime that funded 911 and then told America to blame Afghanistan for it or no cheap oil. People think America is the world’s super power. Wrong. The final scene is incredibly powerful for such an innocuous action and sums up the choices the Saudi’s will have to make as women begin to push for equal rights in an increasingly fragile Middle East. American can’t prop up the House of Saud for ever.

      It’s a beautiful film and we can’t help falling for little Wadjda as she use the forces of oppression to subtly fight back with innocence and guile. The love story with little Abdullah makes you smile as we all remember our first favorite at middle school. Mine was Yasmina, a young Asian girl. I carried her school bag home. That was love to me.

      Even if you hate the chore of subtitles you will love this movie. It’s not a talky film in anyway and what is spoken, matters. It’s such a cute and clever movie in so many ways and fairplay to the brave female director for even taking on this project. It’s also a superb performance by Waad Mohammed as Wadjda, probably the most important in Middle Eastern film for a while. Muslim men in these regimes seem pretty pathetic in the way they treat women over there and clearly humiliated by this brilliant movie. If you are going to see one foreign movie this year then make sure it’s this one.

      ===RATINGS===

      Imdb.com – 7.6/10.0 (10,519votes)
      Rottentomatos.com –99% critic’s approval
      Metacriitc.com – 81% critic’s approval
      Leonard Maltin Film Year Book –

      ===Trailer===


      ===Special Features===

      NONE

      ===Critics===

      The Guardian –‘A warm, winning, restless film...Beautiful, modestly progressive and heartfelt, with a wonderful, brash central performance from first-timer Waad Mohammed’.

      Independent –‘In the title role Mohammed makes a sweet scamp, wry and watchful, always chancing her arm even as she senses trouble ahead -- which is, in a nutshell, what most Saudi women can expect of life’

      Sydney Morning Herald –‘The overall pro-freedom message comes through loud and clear. Rhetorically speaking, the trick of using childish innocence to reveal adult hypocrisy is virtually foolproof’.

      Sight & Sound –‘Haifaa al Mansour's debut merits recognition for its fresh-feeling take on the trope whereby the travails of a child protagonist mirror those of a wider society’.

      Movie Mezzanine –‘There are important films and there are good films, and the two do not necessarily always overlap. Wadjda is both important and very, very good’.

      The Times –‘The film disguises its liberal editorial message with a superbly veiled screenplay; we're just looking ... but of course, we're also seeing, a much more invasive activity’.


      ===========

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    • Hummingbird (Blu-ray) / Blu-Ray Movie / 8 Readings / 8 Ratings
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      13.04.2015 11:45
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      • "500 words"
      • "Country – U.K (15)"
      • "Run Time – 100 minutes"

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      Stop acting Stath!

      So what’s going on with The Stath? He has started to go all soft on us and dare I say attempt to act. Two of his last three films have seen his ‘sensitive side’ and quite frankly it’s off putting. You’re a cool B-Movie action star, not a thespian. Stop it! Can you imagine him in a Merchant Ivory wig and frilly coat? No, me neither. I think what people don’t get with Statham is he will say, ‘yes, ill do that. He doesn’t pick scripts to be ‘an actor’. He picks scripts for decent money and to keep working. This guy knows his place and that’s why we love him.

      Statham plays Joey, a special forces solider on the run from a court martial in Afghanistan and now homeless and selling drugs on London’s violent streets to lay low. He is incapable of avoiding beatings from his generic white thug handlers and cares only for a young girl he sleeps in a box with. But when Isabel (Victoria Bewick) goes missing after working the streets to fund her habit, the old Joey begins to stir. But first he has to clean himself up, crashing in a guy’s swanky vacant flat while the owner is in New York to get off the booze.

      After working in a Chinese restaurant and beating up some football fans for getting leery his Triad employers recognize his interesting fighting skills and put him to better use. So Q the suit, stubble and black sedan, ready to kick but. He needs the money to help his daughter he has been neglecting since the war and also has a crush on a Polish nun he meets at the mission where he was getting free food and a bed. Christina (Agata Buzek) doesn’t like bad men but who can resist the Stath as our hero tracks down his prostitute friend as the body count rises.

      The film bombed in the cinema as expected and Statham remains a straight-to-video action actor, our very own Steven Seagal. Its $20 million budget scraped back just $12 million and this not one of his best. There are not many reasons to recommend it. He doesn’t even do his signature shirt and suit off and on the hanger move. Thankfully the acting bit fades out half way though as he gets back on his feet and once he slides into the sharp black suit and fast car it all recovers. It has odd moments of quirky humor (Statham talking about penises) and he even kisses girl in this, something he rarely does in movies as he stays the aloof asexual man alone the way Denzil Washington does. Statham is a huge gay icon for a reason. He was an Olympic diver in his youth you know and we know what sexuality most of them are. He even had great hair.

      I enjoyed it to a point but the directors London is not one I recognize and the sexy skinny nun romance way too skewed. There are no black people in this movie and its noticeable how obsessed Statham is of working with annoying oily Eastern Europeans. It’s maybe because it’s cheaper but he rarely works with stars. I think Death Race is the only movie he has done where I recognize anyone else in it. But you know what you are going to get with him when he is not trying to act and one of the coolest and most balletic action heroes when he is on form. But there is not enough here to call this an action movie and more seedy mean Streets vigilante stuff than any social comment or rhyme or reason going on.



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      • More +
        10.04.2015 23:32
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        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • "Awards – 32 Wins & 88 Nominations"
        • "Amazon – £9.99 DVD (Blue Ray £14.79)"
        • "Oscars – 1 win from 5 nominations"
        • "Certificate – PG13"
        • "Run Time – 169 minutes"
        • "Star – Mathew McConaughey "

        Disadvantages

        • "Bit silly"

        The movie 'Interstellar' on Sky Sci-Fi movies.


        When all these astrophysics guys and girls try to explain their bamboozling theories the brain hurts. An endless universe, black holes that destroy everything (including information itself) and the fact that the same single atom can briefly exist in two places at once (one in your left finger right now could well be in a grain of sand on a Barbados beach) is pretty terrifying and insane stuff to think about. This is why man created God and film directors. They did not have the answers on the huge questions to settle the masses discomfort back then. But if the universe is endless then anything is possible on probability alone, especially if there are worm holes out there. Even God. But for me the only sure fact we know is humans are real and alive today and their technology skills are growing very quickly and so highly feasible that a future version of us are most likely to have created our own universe as is now. If there is other life out there then where is it? If it’s near the center of the universe it’s less likely to be as developed as us and so unlikely to have arrived. But in the older galaxies further out, and so more likely to be advanced, they have also coughed up nothing with what you would think would be far more advanced technologies saying hi. It makes you wonder if it takes an endless timeless universe like ours to create just one Earth like ours.

        Given all that wondrous mystery that bewilders us all its no surprise the best film directors out there have had their go at explaining it all in the multiplexes, the best place for it. Chris ‘Batman’ Nolan is in the creative hot seat this time around with Interstellar, 2014’s big Science Fiction movie. It’s similar mind warping stuff as his dreamscape movie Inception and looks as fabulous as his Batmen movies on the big screen. Nolan claims he was authentic as possible regarding the theoretical science within currant physical laws in the film but got a tap on the shoulder by men with beards and white coats he was consulting on the plot when he tried to have something travel faster than time. We do know that’s not possible, as we also know that a space ship would probably be crushed to the size of a pinhead if it attempted to pass through a wormhole, the central ideal of Interstellar.

        The film marks the sixth appearance in a Christopher Nolan movie of Michael Caine playing that now familiar wise and avuncular old geezer he does these days, and the film also part of the ‘McConaissance’, the rebirth of phlegmatic romcom actor Mathew McConaughey, winning that surprise Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club last year. I saw him in a low budget film called Mud and you could see there was more to him than leaning on a lamppost on DVD covers with a pretty girl. Nolan also saw that movie and cast him for Interstellar because of. He is very good in all three movies and now A-List.

        Interstellar, based on the idea by science dude Kip Thorne, is a Hollywood ‘end of the world’ movie that explores Earths eventually extinction due to global warming through the so-called Dust Bowl theory. Not much time is spent on explaining how that came about in the film and so I am none the wiser, other than there are a lot more dust storms as farm land becomes arid. Nuclear war remains the biggest threat to the end of the world in our lifetimes but we are constantly kept fearful by our governments by all manner of global threats to keep is buying things to make us feel happy and safe. In the 1930s there was indeed a dust bowl crisis in America but that one wasn’t put down to man made global warming. In fact 30 years after that crisis the scientific consensus was a coming Ice Age.



        ===Cast===

        -Endurance crew-

        • Matthew McConaughey as Cooper
        • Anne Hathaway as Dr. Amelia Brand
        • David Gyasi as Dr. Romilly
        • Wes Bentley as Dr. Doyle
        • Bill Irwin as robot TARS (voice and puppetry) and CASE (puppetry)
        • Josh Stewart as robot CASE (voice)

        -On Earth-

        • Jessica Chastain as Murphy "Murph" Cooper
        • Mackenzie Foy as young Murphy
        • Ellen Burstyn as elderly Murphy
        • Michael Caine as Dr. John Brand
        • Casey Affleck as Tom Cooper, Murphy's brother
        • Timothée Chalamet as young Tom
        • John Lithgow as Donald, Cooper's father-in-law
        • Leah Cairns as Lois Cooper, Tom's wife
        • Topher Grace as Getty, a NASA doctor who is Murphy's boyfriend


        -In space-

        • Matt Damon as Dr. Mann


        ===Plot===

        Earth has survived a near disastrous food crisis by overpopulation but now has another fail, blight, the soil too dry from endless global droughts and producing pestilence, Earth reduced to an agrarian society where farming is the priority now to stay alive.

        Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a retired astronaut and pilot, works the land like most people, growing maze and corn on the Iowa planes. The wife has died a while back and he now lives with his young daughter Murphy (Mackenzie Foy), older son Tom (Timothée Chalamet) and step dad Donald (John Lithgow). They all miss mom and have their own ways of dealing with it, Murph claiming mom’s spirit lives in her bedroom and knocks books off the shelf and things on the floor to let her know she watches over her.

        When the farming machinery goes haywire it appears there may well be something supernatural going on here after all, strange binary patterns of dust on Murphy’s bedroom floor appearing to be GPS coordinates, of which Cooper and Murphy checkout. What they find is amazing, a NASA facility hidden deep underground. Inside they are frisked and learn of the Lazarus rocket missions, a plan to try and find new planets out there to start over as Earth dies. But these planets that could be colonized are not local, a worm hole appearing in Saturn’s rings 48 years ago and NASA slingshoting previous Lazarus missions across the space time continuum to a galaxy zillions of miles away near to the black hole Gargantua, where brilliant NASA scientist Dr. John Brand (Michael Caine) believes their new home lurks.

        Brand’s beautiful daughter and chief science astronaut Amelia (Anne Hathaway) is looking for pilots for the final mission, Endurance, and Cooper bang up for saving the world, Bruce Willis style. But the mission will take many years and his kids will be all grown up when he returns, if he returns. Any mistakes on the other side of the wormhole could be catastrophic, an hour too long on one planet and twenty years of time elapsed back home for the 30 minute mistake. He will receive updates from his family on the voyage but an extremely selfish decision he is taking on a mission that has little chance of success.

        In orbit the crew board a rotating space station, their home for the two year journey to Saturn, then slip through the wormhole to God knows where. Here Cooper must make decisions that could save mankind as they investigate previous missions and new planets. Others on the ship not are 100% in agreement with t eir bombastic captain.


        ===Quote===

        Cooper: We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars, now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.


        ===Results===


        Its classic Sci-Fi hokum but well done. Its way too long but you just don’t notice as the film moves along nicely taking tremendous liberties and falling down more plot holes than black holes. Ok, it takes an hour for it go get going in the way M Knight Shyamalen ‘Signs’ did to set up the family dynamic but you just go with it. Chris Nolan is one of those interesting and intelligent directors that make likewise movies and it’s an event movie when he does. The same way you were sucked into the extremely engrossing and mind twisting Inception there are similar levers pulled here.

        It’s a big sky movie in every senese and I believe the biggest ever gross on Imax screens, 60% of the early gross coming from people preferring to see the bigger picture, intellectually and visually, if you excuse the pun. For its $165 million, a relatively average budget for a massive summer blockbuster, it looks good and the spinning worm hole and space station sequence having people falling out of the stalls in the cinema with giddiness apparently. Imagine being sucked into a worm hole in an Imax cinema!

        It did fabulous money with $872 million banked to date and shamelessly borrows heavily from previous Science fiction classics - Event Horizon, Gravity and Kubrick’s bonkers masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey seriously looted. But I like directors that accept what they want to do well on screen has already been done better and so why not copy it? The best form of flattery, as that saying goes, winning the Oscar for Best Achievement in Visual Effects for that magpie behavior. Its great soundtrack also received two nominations from The Academy and would win The Golden Globe for Best Score.

        As I say not a great deal of money is spent on an apocalyptic real time Earth as everyone drives around in 2013 pickups in 2012 Levis and you wouldn’t know it anything had happened, or about to, bar the odd dust storm. But once we get into space and our teeth into the complex time warping premise of the movie we are on the move and Mathew McConaughey takes over with his delicious folksy southern drawl and mischievous smile. He really does carry the movie well. Everyone else is just lost in the vacuum of space.

        The heart of the movie is more about the relationship between father and daughter and the time twisting metaphor around that may have you shaking your head a bit but that’s what movies are supposed to be about. A bit of intelligent unreality on screen is good for our humdrum lives. This movie won’t register as one of the great Sci-Fi’s but it does make you think and hope at the same time as you know we are probably the only ones in this vast black void and we will bugger up the planet soon.

        ===RATINGS===

        Imdb.com – 8.8/10.0 (560,298votes)
        Rottentomatos.com –72% critic’s approval
        Metacriitc.com – 74% critic’s approval

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      • Paramount Comedy Channel / TV Channel / 6 Readings / 6 Ratings
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        08.04.2015 22:06
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        • "Amazon – £5.75 DVD (Blue Ray £8.83)"
        • "105 minutes (18R)"
        • "Black comedy ( American)"

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        • "Brutal at times "

        God Bless America - A film on Paramount


        They held X-Factor auditions in Northampton last week and I thought there would be hundreds of wannabes queuing. There were only eight people there, 56 all day. It’s finally dawning on people that it’s not the talented members of the general public that get through to the later televised stages of reality shows but the weirdoes, professional singers and fame agency kids, people they can control although to be fair Simon Cowell has always said it was an entertainment show and never singing contest. This rather sharp, biting, funny and satirical American movie created by that weird bloke who made animal noises in The Police Academy movies sends up that hateful new media in question that generates huge profits from exploiting gullible and talentless people on those reality shows.

        The film is considered to be a remake of the rather silly 1998 Michael Winner British comedy "Parting Shots", starring most of our sitcom greats. In that film, Harry Sterndale (Chris Rea), a man who may or may not be terminally ill decides to go out with a bang by killing all of the people he hates.

        ===Cast===

        Joel Murray ... Frank
        Tara Lynne Barr ... Roxy
        Melinda Page Hamilton ... Alison
        Mackenzie Brooke Smith ... Ava
        Rich McDonald ... Brad
        Maddie Hasson ... Chloe
        Larry Miller ... Chloe's Dad
        Dorie Barton ... Chloe's Mom
        Travis Wester ... Ed

        ===Plot===

        Chubby everyman Frank (Joel Murray) has had enough. White, middle-class and middle aged his wife has left him and his young daughter thinks he is d*ck. When diagnosed with a brain tumor and fired from his insurance job in the same week he cracks, deciding to steel his boorish neighbor’s sports car and go on a killing spree.

        Spiteful and manipulative modern American entertainment TV has embittered him big time and his first target is Chloe (Maddie Hasson) , the star of a high school reality show, who he squeezes of two, rounds in her head though the car window for her annoying efforts.

        Witnessing this brutal killing is young teenage head case Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr), who is impressed with the extermination of Chloe and talks herself into the car and so onto Franks killing spree. Roxy’s back story of being abused by her parents is enough to convince Frank she can come along. They are of like mind on the state of America today. The duo then decides to pop Chloe’s parents for bringing up such a ghastly spoilt child.


        The duo dodge the cops and run up the miles and so body county, bad parkers, noisy cinema patrons ,Tea Party racist worthy of the bullet. Their big target now is the final of American Superstar, the show that riles Frank the most, with a few right wing hate news station anchors on the way to the studio recording. But this is a one way ticket for Frank and so Roxy must decide her fete, cops just as trigger happy s they ever were, as we have seen in the news recently.


        ===Quote===

        Frank: [after finishing shooting practice]You did a good job.
        Roxy: I have a good coach. That and I was pretending the targets were the cast of Glee.


        ===Results===

        Because of a constant flow of mass shootings in America this film struggled to get a cinema release. When it did find one between a rare window it was slipped out on DVD and on demand YV to have done with it. But Bobcat was determined to get his film seen and here we are. Shooting up the audience of the big networks version of the X-factor with an AK47 was just too much for the mainstream multiplexes. If Quentin Tarrantino had made this then I’m sure that would not have been the case. This is just too clever for a mainstream American audience.

        It’s packed with some great caustic dialogue about the state of American TV today and although bloody and violent in places it’s done in a black comedy style and so not as bad as it looks. This is not a baby eating movie. You are supposed to punch the air and cheer when their version of Paris Hilton gets her brains blow out. The opening sequence of Frank imagining what it would be like to shoot next doors screaming baby is super gory but that’s about as bad as it gets and a good idea of the level of dark satire we are dealing with here.

        Joel Murray pitches Franks homicidal mid life crisis just right with enough humor and pathos in equal measure whereas Tara Lynne Barr as Roxy is straight from the Juno/Kick Ass playbook as the precocious teen. There has been a few of these vigilante movies around where the disaffected middle age man goes mentally AWOL but this by far the best of late. Its anti cinema and very welcome. There are some seriously quotable lines here. If you don’t like being bombarded with mainstream formulaic film then well worth hunting this low budget naughty movie down. Nobody was particular outraged by it as the main stream entertainment industry it slaughtered simply don’t let anyone see it.

        ===RATINGS===

        Imdb.com – 7.3/10.0 (54,134votes)
        Rottentomatos.com –68% critic’s approval
        Metacriitc.com – 56% critic’s approval
        Leonard Maltin Film Year Book – 3/4

        ===Trailer===

        http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1912398/

        ===Special Features===

        NONE

        ===Critics===

        The Patriot Ledger –‘ It takes dead aim at the culpability of hate-mongering politicians, the religious right and reality TV stars in making the United States the meanest, rudest country in the world’.

        At The Movies –‘If you can take that premise, I think you'll go along with the film and it's really, in its very weird way, quite funny’

        The Baltimore Weekly –‘Though hilariously funny and luridly hypnotic, God Bless America is quite possibly the angriest and saddest film of the last ten years’.

        The Age Australia –‘ Gory, unfunny satire that deserves a prize for the most strained provocation of the year’.

        CNN –‘It's not that you don't sympathize with the characters' sentiments it is, though, that you can't actually go along with their agenda’.

        Cinema Crazed –‘A brilliant, fearless, and merciless indictment of American culture, and how we've become the lowest common denominator’.

        ===========


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      • Sky Sports HD / TV Channel / 11 Readings / 11 Ratings
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        07.04.2015 11:40
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        • "Good Cricket World Cup "

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        • "Dumbed down game"

        MY first HD Cricket World Cup!

        I held two joint World Records in the year of 1992. The first was being in the largest ever marathon field, 1990 in London, 32,987 on the start line, and the second was being part of worlds biggest ever cricket crowd, the 1992 World Cup Final between England and Pakistan, 87,142 jammed into the MCG. The marathon record fell quickly to Chicago but the second one was broken only last month in the rather lack luster final of crickets biggest tournament, 92, 234 packed into the new improved MCG as Australia slaughtered NZ. The India v Australia semi final produced a record cricket TV audience of 645 million. Just over 1 billion attended the 49 matches Down Under.

        I had bet on England to lose all of their games. As a cricket writer of little repute I had heard enough on the grapevine that the England camp was a mess and senior players would not be too bothered if they bombed out early and coach Peter Moore’s, fired. England failed for their third time in five World Cups to get past the groups stages. They are not interested in 50 over cricket.

        The incoming ECB Chief Colin Graves is playing similar games and his ambiguous comments over KP coming back appear to be the first moves to unseat the contracted England hierarchy on mass, how they do it in the retail world, Graves the ex chief of the Costcutter supermarket chain. I find it rather ironic that the players who wanted to get rid of KP by welcoming Moores are now the very ones who want to see Moores go. Francis Urquhart would be proud of these Machiavellian antics.

        As far as the World Cup being enjoyable you would have to say yes, if you love 6s and 4s. There were a record 41 centuries, double that of 2011, Sangakarra scoring four straight. The occasional cricket and sports fans that pack the stadiums love three things at cricket - sun, beer and big runs.
        The nuance of the game that regular county fans enjoy is not really the occasional mass supporter’s thing - as the tinsel, flame throwers and dancing girls are not the elderly county cricket fans thing. I find swing bowling far more exciting than a slogged six over long on. I think it’s fair to say this World Cup delivered all three in abundance. Luckily no one was killed trying to catch the ball one handed in that crazy million dollar T-Shirt promotion! The fans also love plucky underdogs, Ireland pushing the case for the emerging nations with 3 group wins although the ICC still defiant on Irish Test status and intending a smaller World Cup in 2019 to dump 4 minnows

        The arrival of T20 has really changed the one-day game and fans expect crazy runs now. The first 400 innings in an international arrived in 2006. Since then 400 has been broken 14 times. In fact all of the prestigious 50 over batting and innings records have fallen in that period. The four biggest individual batsmen scores have happened in the last four years alone. From the inaugural WC in 1974 there were around four 300 plus scores in the whole tournament. But since the new millennium it shot up from 9 in 2003 to 28 in 2015. We also saw some thrilling individual hitting, a violent double ton by Chris Gayle the highlight.

        ===Highest WC totals===

        417-6: Australia v Afghanistan at Perth (March 2015)
        413-5: India v Bermuda at Port of Spain (March 2007)
        411-4: South Africa v Ireland at Canberra (March 2015)
        408-5: South Africa v West Indies at Sydney (February 2015)

        ===Fastest WC hundreds===

        50 balls - Kevin O'Brien Ireland v England, Bangalore March 2011
        51 balls - Glenn Maxwell Australia v Sri Lanka, Sydney, March 2015
        52 balls - AB de Villiers South Africa v West Indies, Sydney, February 2015
        66 balls - Matthew Hayden Australia v South Africa, St Kitts, March 2007
        67 balls - John Davidson Canada v West Indies, Centurion, February 2003

        ===WR ODI knocks===

        264 - Rohit Sharma Vs Sri Lanka, Kolkata, 2014
        237* -Martin Guptill Vs West Indies, Wellington 2015
        219 - Virender Sehwag Vs West Indies, Indore, 2011
        215 - Chris Gayle VS Zimbabwe, Canberra, 2015


        For the bowlers it’s been a tough few years, the administrators of the game making their life tougher with smaller boundaries, more fielding restrictions and calling out the chukkas. Since South Africa’s Dave Richardson took over the ICC he has empowered his umpires to name and shame the bent arm cheats with no fear of racism calls. Saed Ajmaal managed to go four months in an English county season without being called for throwing by cowered umpires yet in international cricket the bent-armers are being obliterated. The previous Asian led ICC turned a blind eye and actually encouraged it by introducing the 15% bend law to help keep Muttiah Muralitharan on the field, an unfair advantage, the way the West Indian barrage was in the 1980s. But now they all get smashed around the park without their ‘mystery ball’ and only Southee of NZ managed anything of note to trouble the bowling records in ODI cricket with 7- 33 against Eng with his delicious swing.


        ===Best ODI Bowlers===

        (350)Muttiah Muralitharan --- 534 wickets
        (356)Wasim Akram ---502 wickets
        (262)Waqar Younis ---416 wickets
        (322)Chaminda Vaas ---400 wickets
        (398)Shahid Afridi --- 395 wickets

        For all the runs the top four teams in the world meet in the semi finals and it was Australia’s roar pace that won the trophy. They have seven of the ten fastest bowlers in the world and batsmen that don’t face that much lick couldn’t cope, especially NZ. Mitchell Johnson single-handedly won The Ashes last year and Mitchell Starc was the man here with 22 wickets. With Cummins in the trio there was no escape. It would not be bent arm spin this time around that would win the World Cup but Dave Richardson’s courage handing Australia the trophy.

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      • Sky 1 / TV Channel / 8 Readings / 8 Ratings
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        06.04.2015 11:51
        Very helpful
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        • "Run Time – 106 minutes"
        • "Certificate – 15"
        • "Genre – Crime/Drama"
        • "Star – James Gandolfini and Tom Hardy"

        Disadvantages

        • "Not seen by many"

        The Drop - A film on Sky!

        In the 1990’s you couldn’t move for slick and cool American mob movies but there hasn’t been much since, television winning that particular talent content with shows like The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire and The Wire. A chief writer on those TV classic boxsets, Denis Lehane, who also penned the screenplay to Shutter Island and Mystic River, has come up with a classy Mafiosi movie here, ‘The Drop,’ based on his short film Animal Rescue, casting hunky Peaky Blinder Tom Hardy in the lead. Lehane gets the dynamics of the mobster thing and the environment they clump around in and that times have chanced since Al Pacino and Robert De Niro’s day. The mobsters speak a different language in downtown Brooklyn and New Jersey now and there is nothing glamorous about the life. Killing them Softly and The Departed didn’t really work as we just don’t believe square jawed white males with blue eyes and manicured nails go around sticking knives in other men’s necks. Ok, the casting of James Gandolfini was a bit cliché here, as it was in Killing Them Softly, but after watching Trevor MacDonald’s engaging series about the real life Mafia, these wise guys really do wear tracks suits and look like James Gandolfini. As this was has his last performance before his tragic death then why not go out the way you came in. Gandolfini had a massive heart attack one month later after the film wrapped.


        ===Plot===

        Slightly punchy barkeep Bob Liswelski (Tom Hardy) works for his Cousin Marv (James Gandolfini) in a busy blue-collar tavern in a non-descript area of Brooklyn. Marv was once a respected face back in the day around these parts but not no more, the Chechnyian mafia long since moving in and Marvs bar simply used for laundering and passing money now, in return Marv not paying any rent and overheads.

        In the bar there is a drop box, where all the illegally obtained cash from mob activity is taken by various couriers and then collected from the safe later that night by Chovka (Michael Aronov) and his Chechnya goons. Bob doesn’t ask questions and long since turned his back on his old crime days and withdrawn from the world after a traumatic incident ended his violence.

        Bob begins to reengage with the world when he rescues a badly injured puppy from the trashcan of a local woman, Nadia (Noomi Rapace), her nasty boyfriend doing bad things to it, and her. Things get more interesting when the bar is robbed by two masked goons, Uncle Marv down $5000 bucks, money he will have to find to avoid a serious beating from the Chechnya’s. Bob helping the police with enquires doesn’t help Marv’s case, especially when the Chechnya’s bring back body parts of one of the robbers to demonstrates what happens when you misbehave.

        Bob begins to fall for Nadia, and the dog, the mutt all patched up and staying at his house. Alas, her nasty boyfriend shows up and demands the dog back, extorting ten grand off the barman to keep it. It’s also the biggest drop of the year coming up, scheduled for Superbowl Night, a lot of responsibility for Bob and Marv, especially as someone intends to rob the lot this time, bad for both of them.

        ===Results===

        I really enjoyed this; a tense and taught retro stylish mob flick cinema should never have turned its back on. Guys love these movies. With hunky Tom Hardy in it then makes for a great date flick and so no excuses for the boys to keep it to themselves on DVD night. It is James Gandolifi finally surrendering to typecast and this a Tony Soprano reprise of sorts. But, hey, who cares. That’s only a good idea for me.

        The punch and enjoyment of this for me is we haven’t seen this stuff for a while. I really miss the slick American gangster flick. It’s sporadically violent and cliché with Hardy’s brooding performance a real eye-opener to his obvious talent. He is not just the British Channing Tatum and a whole lot more going on here. I’m looking forward to more of his movies, also good in Lawless as the brutal moonshiner. His American accent is as good as his Birmingham one.

        Budget wise it came in at $12.6 million and looks good on it, director Michael Rostrum keeping things edgy and interesting throughout the 100 minutes or so with a really gritty and authentic suburban feel to the movie. Brooklyn is very multicultural now and that comes across in the film. It only did $18 million back and I suspect punters thought it was yet another generic mob flick.

        .

        Killingly Me Softy Lehane normally work’s in Boston



        ===RATINGS===

        Imdb.com –7.1 /10.0 (64,356votes)
        Rottentomatos.com –89% critic’s approval
        Metacriitc.com – 69% critic’s approval
        Leonard Maltin Film Year Book –


        ===Critics===

        Financial Times –‘The film is just three degrees off being brilliant yet is always creepingly moving, and I loved its lived-in squalor’.

        New Yorker Magazine –‘As a vehicle for those two actors, The Drop is gangbusters’.

        ABC News –‘Dark and moody, clever and artful with a twist on cliché, "The Drop" is a surprising and tantalizing fall crime drama sprinkled with indelible moments provided by the consistently extraordinary Tom Hardy’.

        The Mail –‘It's a slow and steady mystery with a couple scenes sure to make your jaw drop. It's a classic case of a little becoming a lot onscreen on the basis of a single impressive performance’.

        Newsweek Magazine –‘The Drop is an atmospheric crime story with fine performances, especially from star Tom Hardy. As for the plot - well, it keeps the characters busy’.



        ===========

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      • More +
        03.04.2015 18:22
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        • "2 Golden Globes"
        • "13 x 55 minute episodes"
        • "Kevin Spacey"

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        “A great man once said, everything is about sex. Except sex. Sex is about power”

        The BBC recently broadcast an enjoyable light hearted three part documentary about life inside the House of Commons. They told us it was unprecedented access as we met likeable MPs on their best behavior going about their day in the rather eccentric and antiquated dusty palace of supposed democracy. Why we haven’t been allowed see that stuff up until this point is the real question. What they didn’t show you was the Machiavellian scheming, the ongoing expenses fraud, incestuous lobbyists, the sexual bullying of MP assistants, the late night boozing and MPs sacrificing their morals for political promotion by voting with the whips to avoid sensitive information being revealed about their grubby private lives. And you can add potential child abuse if the stories are to be believed. The BBC TV series certainly didn’t show us just how undemocratic the place was. It was a TV show to reinforce the establishment, the establishment that voted like sheep for the War in Iraq. This is why The House of Cards proved so popular on Netflix – and back in the 1990s on BBC2. Power never changes its colors, as corrupting as ever. After the Iraq War conspiracy of constructed lies we know just how morally corrupt our particular politicians are. And like the original British version of House of Cards, you end up getting thrown of the roof if you know too much of that stench, Dr Kelly probably meeting that fete.

        The beauty of Netflix is they are generally free of conventional TV Network control. They are virtually unique for the extraordinary creative freedom permitted to filmmakers to write/direct/produce without undue supervision or second-guessing. This was a major factor that drew Oscar nominees like David Fincher and Kevin Spacey to the project. House of Cards was the online channels first Emmy win and won’t be the last. They are changing television and don’t rely solely on advertising revenue. You pay to download each episode and away you go. Each series cost $100 million dollars to make. There are`13 episodes for each series, one for every card in the suit. As there are four suits then surely a fourth series coming…

        ===Cast===

        Kevin Spacey ... Francis Underwood
        Robin Wright ... Claire Underwood
        Michael Kelly ... Doug Stamper
        Kate Mara … Zoe Barnes
        Nathan Darrow Edward Meechum
        Corey Stoll …. Congressman Russo
        Ben Daniels … Adam Galloway
        Mahershala Ali Remy Danton
        Michael Gill ... President Garrett Walker
        Constance Zimmer Janine Skorsky
        Rachel Brosnahan Rachel Posner
        Sakina Jaffrey ... Linda Vasquez
        Kristen Connolly Christina Gallagher
        Jimmi Simpson Gavin Orsay
        Dan Ziskie … Vice President Jim Mathews


        ===Plot===

        “He doesn't measure his wealth in private jets, but purchased soul”


        President Garrett Walker (Michael Gill) has just won The Whitehouse for the Democrats and the big jobs are being handed out. But there won’t be one for House Majority Whip Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and he is not happy, excepting to be given Secretary of State. The President and Whitehouse Chief of Staff Linda Vasquez (Sakina Jaffrey) prefer that he keeps doing what he does best keeping the troops in line now they are in power. But Frank is gutted and begins to plot the downfall of various politicians and money men who betrayed him. Revenge will be sweet.

        His equally ambitious wife Clair (Robin Wright) is in cahoots with his Machiavellian intentions. She runs a Washington based clean water charity, wholly reliant on money from the oil and gas industry to keep going through powerful lobbyist Remmy Dalton (Mahershala Ali), the very polluters of the water. Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly), Underwood’s chief of staff and enforcer, is also on board Frank’s grand plan as the boys pick off their political opponents one-by-one.

        The opening target is the bumbling VP Jim Mathews (Dan Ziskie) and the first unwitting pawn will be the tenacious and impish political blogger and low level Washington Post staffer Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara), who earns the ear of Underwood for some juicy leaks, if she succumbs to his demands, sexual and political. This gen includes information on who will get what post on the Hill and how the President is thinking, earning her promotion at The Post, usurping the papers time served political correspondent Janine Skorsky (Constance Zimmer). Clair is aware of her husband’s infidelities but tolerant of as its all part of their plan to be Washington’s most powerful couple, very much a marriage of convenience. But Clair also has her needs and enjoys pouring fuel on an old flame to prove to her husband this is not a one man show, handsome English photographer Adam Galloway (Ben Daniels) her dalliance.


        ===Quote===

        Underwood: [ending a bathroom squabble] I know you take a lot of pride in your manhood, Jim, it's impressive. But as big as it is, Linda can still shut the door on it.


        Underwood’s first big play is to position the President to help and promote and push through his flagship education bill in the first 100 days. If he can whip that through the unions and congress and win the vote he will earn the Presidents respect. Frank also has to stitch up the guys and girls ahead of him in the queue for the big jobs and so uses substance abusing dimwit and gullible Congressmen Peter Russo (Peter Stoll) as his Trojan Horse. Frank knows all the plays and the puppet master of The Whitehouse and Capital Building and Russo the ideal foil. But overconfidence is not good for any man and he is not the only one who has game out there and soon realizes he, too, may also be on the dinner plate in this dog eat dog world as the pieces begin to fall one by one and everyone is expendable.


        ===Quote===

        Francis Underwood: For those of us climbing to the top of the food chain, there can be no mercy. There is but one rule: hunt or be hunted.


        ===Results===

        There will never be another West Wing and for me the greatest TV drama ever made. All West Wing fans hope Aaron Sorkin will one day pick up the pen again and do six series of a Republican Administration to compliment President Bartlett’s Democrat Whitehouse. But there are no plans yet. It was just genius TV and not too late to try the box set. You will love it! It seems House of Cards will have to do for now and boy do they steel stuff from The West Wing. It’s not as good as but it’s not bad and I have really enjoyed series one.

        Like the British version a folksy Kevin Spacey does the occasional narration to camera just in case you didn’t get that bit and for American audiences you need to. The best bit about the West Wing was there was absolutely none of that and you were left to work out what was going on with your brain power alone and no clues and left behind if you didn’t. If Spacey has to remind you why something just happened in House of Cards there is always a subliminal wink of admiration to the more intelligent viewers who didn’t need the clue. We all hate that moment when the actors are told to talk you through the plot with some chunky dialogue on those big dumb action movies. If you need that stuff then stay away from House of Cards, the most intelligent political drama out there to day.

        Fincher leads the writing team and there is some cracking stuff in here and great lines. Some of it is worked in from Beau Willmon’s British version and a collaboration of sorts so to get the tone right. But whereas our version was done and dusted over four Sunday nights there is 39 episodes of this and so a huge writing team assembled. Money buys the best and this is why they can do four or five box sets of the top shows in the US. Strangely it doesn’t feel stretched out the way well written TV should and little excess fat here. You never feel a character is introduced just for decoration. Everyone matters. Modern social media adds an extra dimension to the original British version and allows for the grand expansion of Underwood’s power trip and contemporary feel. I’m not a huge fan of Kevin Spacey as he tends to smugly play himself in every movie be he is mesmerizing here.

        With its incredible 9.1 rating on IMDB it moves into The Sopranos….West Wing and Breaking Bad bracket of recent contemporary box set releases and clearly people loved it. But it’s not up there for me and certainly not one clear point better than The Wire on Imdb. But it’s welcome and not too dumbed down intelligent political drama from America and for that its gets my vote. Netflix deliberately makes addictive TV and you will soon be mainlining on House of Cards if you deal yourself into the game.




        ===Quote===

        Underwood: There are two kinds of pain. The sort of pain that makes you strong, or useless pain. The sort of pain that's only suffering. I have no patience for useless things.



        ===RATINGS===

        Imdb.com – 9.1/10.0 (199, 234votes)
        Rottentomatos.com –84% critic’s approval
        Metacriitc.com – 76% critic’s approval


        ===Special Features===

        NONE on the 4 disc set

        ===Critics===

        What Culture Magazine –‘Long story short, you owe it to yourself to watch House of Cards, simply because the horrors that are about to follow promise to be interesting enough to sign up for a NetFlix Instant account’.

        LA Times –‘Watch at whatever pace you'd like -- immediately. Given its quality, I think you'll be drinking it all in sooner rather than later’.

        New Yorker –‘House of Cards may not be the best show on television, but it is in the same league as the best shows, and that makes all the difference’.

        Boston Herald –‘House spirals high on a twisted foundation’

        Grantland –‘The production is gorgeous, the performances pristine. Nothing feels out of place, but nothing feels particularly vibrant, either’.
        ===========

        It's so refreshing to work with someone who'll throw a saddle on a gift horse rather than look it in the mouth.

        Comments

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      • Sky Movies Family / TV Channel / 7 Readings / 7 Ratings
        More +
        02.04.2015 16:54
        Very helpful
        (Rating)
        1 Comment

        Advantages

        • "Amazon – £4.99 DVD (Blue Ray £6.40)"
        • "Awards – 5 Wins & 18 Nominations"
        • "116 minutes"
        • "Drama 15"
        • "Star – Colin Firth & Nicole Kidman"

        Disadvantages

        The Railway Man - A film on SMF!

        So The Railway Man, based on the tree story of British Officer Eric Lomax, who returned to Thai-Burma railway in the 1980s to confront a retired Japanese intelligence officer who brutally tortured him and other prisoners in the war. As expected the true story is stretched to beef up the drama and an attractive middle-aged cast employed to make you want to watch that sort of grim stuff and emotional journey, the quivering and stuttering bottom lip of Colin Firth and the fading fragrant flower that is Nicole Kidman the stars in what is very traditional period British drama.



        ===Cast===

        Jeremy Irvine ... Young Eric
        Colin Firth ... Eric
        Stellan Skarsgård ... Finlay
        Michael MacKenzie ... Sutton
        Nicole Kidman ... Patti
        Jeffrey Daunton ... Burton
        Tanroh Ishida ... Young Takeshi Nagase
        Tom Stokes ... Withins
        Bryan Probets ... Major York
        Tom Hobbs ... Thorlby
        Sam Reid ... Young Finlay
        Akos Armont ... Jackson
        Kitamoto Takato ... Japanese Officer

        ===Plot===

        Eric Lomax (Colin Firth), a retired engineer, loves trains and has a fetish for railway timetables and punctuality. But his fuddy duddy middle-class routine is abruptly interrupted when he meets an attractive divorcee, Patti (Nicole Kidman), on one of those trains, she, impressed with his reserved manner and intricate knowledge of what’s outside the windows and the best way to get from A to B on the national network. The two are soon in love and wedding bells ringing.

        But Eric has a dark secret, PTSD from the war, tortured in a prisoner of war camp and terrible memories still haunting him. When Singapore fell to the Japanese members of his unit were forced to work on the Thai-Burma railway, a terrible cruel place. As he and a few three others are engineers he is luckier than most as an engineer were given lighter duties to keep the machinery and equipment going on during the build.

        Eric and the remaining veterans of that time and unit meet once a year in an ex forces club on the South Coast to try and forget and quietly celebrate they are still alive, many unable to cope and still traumatized but not something they want to talk about. Through frequent flashback scenes through a young Eric (Jeremy Irvine) we discover that torment on the railway. But Patti knows the only way Eric can fight his night terrors and save their marriage is to go back and confront his demons, Takeshi Nagase (Tanroh Ishida), the officer, now a contrite tourist guide on the Rangoon railway system showing people what happened back then.


        ===Results===

        Solid British stiff upper lip tweed drama is the best way to describe this one. But is there any other when Colin Firth is involved? But those wet T-Shirt days are over and he looks dated like old technology computer now, as does Kidman, Blue Ray not kind to them. But Firth is on top form here and puts in a strong performance as the tormented soul and keeps the film comfortably above the waterline. It’s a textured piece and you stay with the story as we peel back the war layers of his life and why he is so messed up. It feels like a black & white 1950s British movie at times and certainly plays out like one, even though it’s set in the late 70s and early 80s.

        It’s a mid budget affair coming in at $12 million doing $22 million back to date, the sort of movie you can win tickets to in the Daily Mail. But I enjoyed it and although not a standout film of 2014 it’s good enough to recommend to an adult audience. We don’t really learn anything new about the forced labor camps in Japan and the region and the Japanese officers, as per usual, all two-dimensional psychopaths ready to wield the baton or lop of some body parts. My dad almost ended up there when he was based near Burma and truly horrific what really went on in there, films like this having to sanitize events to find an audience.

        The flashback sequences come thick and fast and it’s always like there are two movies going on. It’s not too slow though and moments of genuine humor. The story could have been chunkier and ends up neither a love story or war movie. The real Lomax story is probably more intelligent although they look nothing like Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman, perhaps the films biggest weakness but strongest selling point.

        ===RATINGS===

        Imdb.com – 7.1/10.0 (20,324votes)
        Rottentomatos.com –66% critic’s approval
        Metacriitc.com – 59% critic’s approval
        Leonard Maltin Film Year Book –


        ===Special Features===

        -Cast & Crew Interviews-

        There are a lot of them for some reason with talking head interviews for pretty much all of the cast and crew.

        -Deleted Scenes-

        Not so many of those.


        ===Critics===


        Globe & Mail –‘The critical problems are an overbusy time-jumping script and reliance on the conventions of the trauma drama - flashbacks, fragmentation, distorted time and space - that prove more a barrier than a window into the character's inner lives.

        Birmingham Mail –‘As an Oscar winner for The King's Speech (2010), Firth has nothing to prove. But this is a performance which he might eventually consider to be his finest, speaking volumes for men who quietly carried the burdens of evil on their shoulders’.

        Under the Radar –‘The Railway Man is an ambitious, well-intentioned film plagued by flat, predictable storytelling’.

        Movie Talk –‘Colin Firth delivers another of his masterly portrayals of stiff-upper-lipped emotional reserve, but his character's stuffy reticence means that it is all the more powerful when he eventually reveals the depths of hurt left by his harrowing experiences’.

        Nashville Express –‘For all its classic-era echoes, the structure of The Railway Man with its nightmares, flashbacks and even outright fantasy scenes is fairly modern, making the film much more than an exercise in 'making them like they used to.'

        Miami Herald –‘Intense, well-acted, worth seeing but the back and forth, past to present barely works’.


        ===========

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        • Radio in general / Discussion / 5 Readings / 5 Ratings
          More +
          01.04.2015 12:54
          Very helpful
          (Rating)

          Advantages

          • "Better signal"

          Disadvantages

          • Fragile
          • "Poor battery use"
          • "Patchy signal"

          Dabbling in DAB...

          One of the main problems with consumer sites like ciao is they want you to review the newest and latest products as soon as you get them, Ciaos biggest flaw, especially with electrical kit. If you waited three months you would give a very different review as you discover the products weaknesses. That’s certainly the case with portable Dab radios. I had a reliable Roberts make for Christmas and reviewed it here but had to returned it to the company three weeks later, the product clearly reconditioned when the company on Amazon told me it was a new one, and the reception and battery life not great. With my new model in my top pocket and the third brand I have used in a year I am now realizing reception on all of these things is not great and battery use the same issue with all brands.

          Gmyle is a generic brand from I know not where but at £35 with rechargeable battery and MP3 player ability it was worth a try. I decided to go for built in batteries as most of these take those fiddly little AA batteries like you get in your TV remote and aint cheap and you only get about 6 hours use from them in these players. You need to buy an external charger to keep those juiced up to run one of these power hogs. DAB isn’t like normal portable radio use.

          With this player some 37 of the 47 channels it download actually receive a signal in my area of the country. For me I wanted portable DAB so to listen to Radio5 Sports Xtra that broadcast alternative football and cricket commentaries from their main channel. Radio Northampton also has a digital channel now so they can broadcast sport on there whilst the FM station takes the normal output and shows. As patchy as DAB reception is nationwide we do need it and it offers more choice.

          Ok, I should really finish the review here as I have only had this 2 weeks. But that’s not going to happen is it so here we go on how it’s been so far and what it is supposed to do. You can’t send them back after two weeks has elapsed on Amazon and so it moves on to the manufactures guarantee, which is one year here. Reception wise it’s the same problem. The signal breaks up the more built up the area. Normal MW/FM radio will work inside shops up to a point whereas digital it just cuts out. These are not great for the work place and town center. When I set it up it found 47 stations of which 37 I can actually lock in a signal to in Northampton. It has a 20 channel preset option to navigate quicker on the move. Interestingly there are some there I couldn’t get on the Roberts DAB player. When the stations do stick they are perfectly fine and this player has excellent volume to enjoy the sound on the music stations. The small in ear headphones are surprisingly good quality and deliver a decent sound that’s not too tinny or base.

          Power wise the unit is fully equipped with a built in rechargeable battery. The box includes a USB power chord to recharge the unit not from the household plug but any other USB device with power management and a USB slot, typically a lap top, PC or Notebook. You just plug it into your computer while you are working and it powers up the DAB Player! The battery lasts about 8 hours fully charged so you won’t be putting that cable away in the box again. A little graphic on the players display shows how much power left. Also on the LCD is a rather neat scrolling text feature that not only tells you what channel you are on but what song is playing or who is presenting and what the show is about.

          MP3 wise the player has the ability to record the radio programs and songs on both the DAB and FM channels, but on to an SD memory card only (not included), of which slots into the player and doesn’t stick out too much. It feels snug so no issues there. You can, of course, play what is ever on your card on the player if you so chose, as you can any other device that supports the card. The DAB device is small and snug so no bulk issues either.

          So, on the whole, the best of three portable DAB players I have had so far. When buying these I don’t think you get what you pay for so a cheaper generic player or a top end branded device may be no different as far as signal quality goes. The problem is clearly down to how much signal interference around and no amount of technology will help you there it seems. It does break up in the town center but I just have to accept that’s what they do and settle for this one. I’m saving good money on the battery cost with that charging from other devices thing so I would definitely avoid buying players that use off the shelf conventional batteries. The MP3 player is also a big plus as similar priced devices don’t seem to have them. And with those decent headphones worth at least a tenner I reckon I have a good deal here - although I said that last time.



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        • The Killer Inside Me (DVD) / DVD / 9 Readings / 8 Ratings
          More +
          31.03.2015 16:11
          Very helpful
          (Rating)
          1 Comment

          Advantages

          • "Awards – 2 Wins & 5 Nominations"
          • "Country – USA"
          • "Certificate – 18R"
          • "Genre – Crime/Thriller"
          • "Run Time – 109 minutes"
          • "Star – Casey Affleck"

          Disadvantages

          • "Violent towards women"

          50 Shades of Pain

          So, ‘The Killer Inside Me, based on the book of the same name by Jim Thompson, the tome said to be un-filmable because of its often graphic depiction of violence against women, why it caused so much controversy when British director Peter Winterbottom attempted exactly that. The 2010 film really riled women’s groups because British director Peter Winterburn appeared quite sadistic with the visually violent scenes on screen that actor Casey Affleck (playing a Texas cop) and the two female leads had to play out. I have certainly never seen anything as bad as this and I can understand why it upset people. But the point of the book appears to be the link between violence, sex and control of women, and their occasional submission to it, and in a context that does seem to be relevant. But this is not a film for women to watch, especially as so many women have gone through domestic violence in real life. It’s watched by men, making it even more probabilistic in those critics’ eyes.

          As we saw with the rabid popularity of 50 Shades of Gray there are women out there who enjoy inviting levels of pain into their relationship as sexual gratification. Ok, they are mostly working-class women who openly admit to that and the same people who bought the book and watched the film….more pink Stetsons in the multiplexes than gay pride parade in Brighton, why the critics were so ‘sniffy’ over the book and the films success. Some women tolerate violence and pain in their lives because it’s all they ever knew whilst others because they feel it reinforces control in the relationship and get off from it. Whatever women may say, deep down they want their man to be a man and in control and so subliminally subservient to them when it comes to bed time. It really is a basic instinct. Who doest like going over the knee to have their bottom spanked red? I’m game!

          ===Cast===

          Casey Affleck ... Lou Ford
          Kate Hudson ... Amy Stanton
          Jessica Alba ... Joyce Lakeland
          Ned Beatty ... Chester Conway
          Elias Koteas ... Joe Rothman
          Tom Bower ... Sheriff Bob Maples
          Simon Baker ... Howard Hendricks
          Bill Pullman ... Billy Boy Walker
          Matthew Maher ... Deputy Jeff Plummer
          Liam Aiken ... Johnnie Pappas
          Jay R. Ferguson ... Elmer Conway
          Ali Nazary ... Max Pappas


          ===Plot===

          Lou Ford (Casey Affleck) is a Deputy in a small town in Texas, appearing an easy going and decent law enforcing authority on the outside. But a whole lot of sadistic hate is going on in the inside and being a cop the best job in the world for that outlet. As a teenager, Lou was caught raping a five-year-old girl in the back of a parked car by his adopted brother Mike, who pleaded guilty to the crime and served prison time to protect Lou. He also had a thing for his sister. After Mike was released, he died in a construction accident, which the boss, Chester Conway (Ned Beatty), believes the sociopathic Ford was responsible for when he worked as a tiler for him in his younger days.

          The Deputy’s need for violence is accelerated once again when sexy prostitute Joyce Lakeland (Jessica Alba) sets up shop just outside of town, Ford sent to see her by the Sherriff (Tom Bower) because she is having an affair with Conway’s grandson Elmer (Jay R. Ferguson). At first he asks her to move on but she fights back, landing blows on the Deputy and drawing blood, which are reciprocated, the two soon rolling on the bed in passion.

          A torrid affair begins as the two devise a plan to extort money from Elmer Conway instead. But Ford’s insane instincts take over and he gleefully beats Joyce within an inch of her life, then shooting Elmer and placing the gun in her hand, another more exciting extortion plan deployed. But weeks later she is still breathing, which means Conway intends to see her charged for killing her grandson.

          ===Quote===

          ‘…..A weed is a plant out of place. I find a hollyhock in my cornfield, and it's a weed. I find it in my yard, and it's a flower. You're in my yard’,

          The County District Attorney arrives (Simon Baker) to find out what really happened. But he has another suspect in mind, our sociopathic deputy. Fords long term girlfriend Amy (Kate Hudson) is also suspicious of his actions of late as the net closes, not s turned on by his need for pain in their bedroom. But it’s never wise to corner a wild animal.


          ===Quote===

          Deputy Lou Ford: I got a foot on both sides of the fence. They were put there early, and they stayed put. I can't move. I can't jump. All I can do is wait until I split, right down the middle.


          ===Results===

          The film critic inside me says the exploration of violence against women is fair game on film but no where else. But the real impact of this movie is how you feel when the women are being beaten, Ford really going at it with his leather driving gloves and cowboy boots. As a woman you would feel disgust, as you do a man, but there are other uncomfortable emotions stirring. They are the same feelings the mob has when they gather at a potential suicide and scene encourage the guy to jump to his death from the multistory. These are primeval emotions from the beginning of mankind and evolution. Why does the cinema audience cheer when someone gets badly beaten up? Maybe we don’t want to address those emotions? Jim Thompson says you should. They didn’t cheer when Jessica Alba was getting pounded but they were not alone with their uncomfortable feelings at that point. I think the writer really nailed those sadistic emotions we ALL have hidden away but I also feel the director got carried away and used the scenes to generate controversy to help sell a tricky film.

          Casey Affleck doesn’t really convince as a sadistic psychopath but does a good enough job for his slight frame and boyish good looks. Alba just about convinces as the submissive hoar but Kate Hudson not really grasping what the book is about with her passive turn. The violence is there and visceral and the camera lingers on Alba’s swollen face and Hudson’s smashed ribcage. Yes I do think the film it works as the exploration of a violent sociopath to some extent but doesn’t put Casey Affleck’s serial killer up there with cinemas greats as it’s not quite sophisticated enough in the exploration of the demented mind.

          I enjoyed the film noir style and intrigue but the plot does seem to be there just to deliver the violent scenes on camera, almost like Winterbottom is getting kick out of it from behind the lens. The actual plotting and deception isn’t made really clear though and glossed over to get to the nasty stuff.

          As a film its ok but no where near Elmore Leonard and co. There are no Blue Ray extras but Texas looks good in the dry dusty sun in Blue Ray sunshine. It’s not really a film that needs Blue Ray as it has a TV movie look going on but if you want to pay extra for it then fair enough. The blood is the same red as the normal DVD although that little bit richer. The sound is rather good though and it has some good folksy dialect and writing but the only memorable scenes that make this film relevant are for the wrong reasons. It’s more sadistic than smart and a film that should only be enjoyed if you want to go to that place we don’t talk about. Its $13 million budget pulling back just $4 million is all you need to know on the word of mouth.

          ===RATINGS===

          Imdb.com – 6.2/10.0 (26,543votes)
          Rottentomatos.com –55% critic’s approval
          Metacriitc.com – 53% critic’s approval
          Leonard Maltin Film Year Book –

          ===Trailer===


          ===Special Features===

          NONE

          ===Critics===

          Flicks –‘Jim Thompson's 1952 novel upon which this is based was supposedly unfilmable: perhaps that was the correct assessment’.

          The Mail –‘[Affleck's] commitment to such a vile character, even in spite of Winterbottom's occasionally questionable direction, displays a fearlessness that is rarely seen in cinema today’.

          Cinemafriend.com –‘The violence is not shown in an ironic fashion. It's put front and center and is visceral in a way nothing else is in the film’.

          The heralded –‘violent" scene practically screams "We need domestic distribution!" I don't think anyone in this movie actually likes this movie’.

          What Culture –‘An excellent film which takes some big, brave steps in the crime genre...’


          ===========

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          • More +
            29.03.2015 13:39
            Very helpful
            (Rating)

            Advantages

            • "Amazon – £9.99 DVD (Blue Ray (£12.99)"
            • "Country – UK Film"
            • "Certificate – 18"
            • "Run Time – 99 minutes"
            • "Genre – Thriller/War"
            • "Star – Jack O’Connell"

            Disadvantages

            71 - A cracking British war movie on Sky!

            Anyone old enough will never forget those horrific images of the off duty British soldiers being dragged from a car by paramilitaries after taking a wrong turn into a Belfast funeral parade back in the 1980s, only to be taken to an alleyway and executed, all on live TV. The Hillsborough tragedy and that will stay with me for along time. Both sides, of course, behaved appallingly during The Troubles and that double murder a visceral example of the deprived and twisted hatred going on back then in the working-class, 71, a rather exhilarating BAFTA wining thriller throwing the lot of filth and that depravity back at you like a bucket full of slurry. This wasn’t a war over territory but who could be the most disgusting when let lose with no one telling them not to. To take a quote from the film and one of the best on being a British soldier yet:

            ……‘Posh c**ts tell thick c**ts to kill poor c**ts….

            ===Cast===

            • Jack O'Connell as Gary Hook
            • Richard Dormer as Eamon
            • Jack Lowden as Thompson ("Thommo")
            • Charlie Murphy as Brigid
            • David Wilmot as Boyle
            • Sean Harris as Captain Sandy Browning
            • Killian Scott as James Quinn
            • Sam Reid as Lt. Armitage
            • Barry Keoghan as Sean
            • Paul Anderson as Sergeant Leslie Lewis
            • Martin McCann as Paul Haggerty
            • Babou Ceesay as Corporal
            • Corey McKinley as Loyalist child
            • Paul Popplewell as Training Corporal


            ===Plot===

            Its 1971 and rookie infantryman Gary Hook (Jack O'Connell) is straight out of Catterick and into Northern Irelands hotbed of hatred, his regiment’s soft posting in Germany for schnitzels and Oktoberfest cancelled for riots and bombs in Belfast.
            Pensive and edgy the boys are soon on patrol, joining the RUC on a mission to search a suspect’s house in a Catholic area of Belfast. An orchestrated riot breaks and the unit’s young and posh commander struggles to keep control of the situation when shots are fired. Hooks day is about to get a whole lot worse when he is separated from the line and the soldiers suffer a fatality, soon cut of from the rest of the lads and left behind to the mob.

            He makes a dash for it through the rat runs of the Catholic estate as bricks, bottles and then bullets reign in on him. Up and coming IRA man Quinn (Killian Scott) wants to make a name for himself by shooting the soldier dead and makes chase with his crew. The senior IRA man who runs the show, Boyle (David Wilmot), is not best pleased with Quinn’s actions and tells him to stand down as killing British soldiers brings a whole lot of trouble for all of them. But Quinn thinks Boyle is old IRA and holding the struggle back and times need to be a changing.

            Hook stays alive and hides bloodied in an outhouse. He stumbles on the frontline between the two warring estates and with the help of a young cocky Protestant kid (Corey McKinley) makes it into the Loyalist area and relative safety. With both new and old IRA after him he adds another potential enemy when he discovers what undercover British Army intelligence (MRF) are up to, more Machiavellian ugliness in an ugly terrifying place.




            ===Results===

            What an amazing first feature this is from director Yann Demange! It’s taught, thrilling and exciting pretty much from the off and at times you find yourself forgetting to draw breath as out terrified soldier moves through the rat runs of Belfast with everyone trying to kill him. Like Blackhawk Down and ‘Lebanon’, young square jawed Jack O'Connell puts in a cracking performance as the frightened young man experiencing combat for the first time in an alien unforgiving environment. Most soldiers really are kids just out of school and there is a reason why they get them so young. In the Vietnam War the US military discovered early on that the US soldiers were deliberately shooting above the heads of the enemies so not to kill them. From then on in the Army decided to dehumanize them in basic training by square-bashing and discipline to take away conscious decision making, the idea being the kids could not distinguish between the order to kill on instinct and the order to clean the toilet with a toothbrush. All that shouting and balling is not so much bullying but the extraction of human emotions around compassion for your fellow man. To go into a place like Northern Ireland in your late teens must have been harrowing, especially with 5-year-old kids give the day off primary school to throw bricks at you and their dads trying to blow you up.

            For a budget of £8.1 million this film had little chance to make money. Here lies the problem. Most of our multiplexes and On Demand movie channels are US owned and they only play their movies. This managed just £2.1 million back from its meager theatre release. The film is deemed not big enough to dominate those multiplex screens and has no Blockbuster Video to build word of mouth. People with on-demand on their smartphone simply watch the blockbusters. It’s a difficult problem to fix. I hope this film will get seen and good word of mouth from your guys as it’s a thrilling British war movie that captures the hate of those times.

            As I said it packs a punch from the off and we don’t mess around with characterization, straight into the action, the point, Jack O'Connell primed for war not making friends in a world of defined tribes and characters. Rather a lot of The Troubles stuff happens to this poor chap in the movie in such a short time and so a lot of rich filling and sauce in the sandwich for you to bite on. It really does grab you by the n*ts throughout as our hero scrambles bloodied deeper and deeper into the hell of the rabbit warren of sectarianism. The film doesn’t bother getting too political and finds working-class compassion where it can in Belfast to ease the frantic pace. One slight quibble on casting would be the British plain clothes intelligence officers look and sound more like Spinal Tap than trained killers but defined that way, I suppose, to express the ambiguous twisted role they played in the conflict.

            If you don’t wanted superheroes or complex drama for your weekly rental then 71 is the ideal movie for the weekend from the current DVD chart. I went for the Blue Ray option but most of the film is shot at night and grotty housing estates so no real benefit of ‘paying up’ for BlueRay, the occasional petrol bomb the rare splash of color on offer here. There are no extras on the disc and I have noticed we are seeing less and less of those pointless ‘add on’s’ now most film rental and purchase is on demand. How long good low budget British film can last without exposure is up to you and you can start by renting films like this. My greatest pleasure from writing on ciao is just one person watches movie because of my review.


            ===RATINGS===

            Imdb.com –7.2 /10.0 (13,200votes)
            Rottentomatos.com –97% critic’s approval
            Metacriitc.com – 83 % critic’s approval
            Leonard Maltin Film Year Book –

            ===Trailer===

            http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2614684/


            ===Special Features===

            NONE

            ===Critics===

            Toronto Star –‘Scenes take on a surreal nightmare quality, sometimes with no accompanying sound, as even the camera seems dazed by what it is witnessing.

            Las Vegas Review –‘The unconventional thriller is nearly as full of disillusionment as it is tension and suspense’.

            San Francisco –‘If you are in the mood for a confusing and thoroughly depressing immersion into Irish history, you can't do better. But that would be a very odd mood to be in’

            The Hollywood Reporter –‘Outstanding, tense, nail-biting thriller set in the cauldron of violence and deprivation that was Belfast in 1971...director Yann Demange stages some vivid sequences and knows how to escalate tension to breaking point.

            Simon Weaving –‘A superb debut feature from director Yann Demange, who expertly captures the mood of ragged violence and the naivety of British forces arriving in the midst of a deeply complex political conflict’.

            ===========

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          • State Pensions / Financial Adviser / 10 Readings / 10 Ratings
            More +
            27.03.2015 20:17
            Very helpful
            (Rating)
            1 Comment

            Advantages

            • "Your cash"

            Disadvantages

            • "Crazy policy"

            ANother insane Tory policy

            The governments emancipating pension policy must be the craziest Tory policy since Mrs Thatcher deregulated the City of London. The idea a pensioner can cash in a lump sum of a private pension presses a lot of alarm bells. The first one is the company or pension provider may not have the money to pay it out as lot of pension funds are invested so to generate enough cash to actually meet the monthly payments. If 30% decide they want their money now then that could cause major issues, now and down the line, those companies havening to keep money aside to payout on maturation, rather than the more manageable annuity.

            It’s pretty obvious this is George Osborne short termism to help the Tories get re-elected. Older voters are the most likely to vote and mostly vote Tory. This move will also free up locked down cash and get it into the economy to boost the flagging retail sector as deadly deflation rears its ugly head. Cameron is encouraging a low wage economy to keep inflation under control and another middle-class property bubble the only real inflation around. He doesn’t want to mess with that policy helping his core vote and with the glamorous Governor of the Bank of England in his pocket he can sustain that measured growth that hammers the poor and delivers for the rich.

            I don’t think many pensioners will rush to a Ferrari dealership but I do think they will have cruises and buy that motor home or conservatory they have always wanted. No one really knows how long they will live after retirement and so why not enjoy yourself while you can? The whole point of an annuity is to stop that reckless early spend and make sure the retired person can live within their means. Some clued up oldies may well invest well and make more from their pension pot they would have but that majority won’t. I hope our reserved sensible British sense of fair play will see most pensioners continue with a monthly sum but you can’t be sure. Why else would Osborne introduce this move other than to put money in the economy and weaken pensions?

            A more calculated cynism would be that Cameron thinks this move may help to deal with the massive dementia and elderly problem, which HAS to be dealt with. If pensioners are taking out lump sums and have the ability to access that locked down cash that gives councils more access to those funds that can pay for care. At the moment the government simply don’t know how to deal with our aging population and certainly not building enough affordable care home places, simply putting pressure on relatives to sell the family home to pay for care or simply bung the frail back into the NHS to bed block. But that no longer disguises the problem and Osborne has to find cash to at least contain this huge issue in his next term. Every family in Britain will be affected by it and 30% of over 50s unemployment believed to be related to the workforce staying home to care for family member. One of you reading this will be those 30% and the majority of you having a relative with dementia. The movie may portray dementia glamorously with Julianne Moore but it’s a cruel cancer on society and affecting the majority of the western world now.

            The Tories continue their nasty tricks by decreasing cash strapped non Tory council’s funds and then blame the councils for not funding care. They need that pension cash to fund elderly care. The Bedroom Tax is all you need know about the Tories to look at motives for.


            Big businesses, of course, are also ducking out of its responsibility for its workforce through decent pension provision, preferring to pay minimum wage and zero hour contracts and hide all its money in Bermuda instead. The Germanwings tragedy is an example of just how expensive pensions have become. The German pilots union has been making all manner of pension demands. The Germanwings pilots went on strike last year to keep the right to early retirement at 55-years of age on 60% of their salary. 60%!! Post 911 the airline industry has not recovered and Germanwings one of many who had to restructure to stay afloat. Germanwings wanted to offload some of the expensive time served experienced pilots through their restructuring to bring down the pension pot and break the uion. They then employed guys like Amdreas Lubitz, a known manic depressive, perhaps other airlines not wanting to touch him because of that. Pension provision and old age is bringing us all down, quite literally.

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