Reservoir Dogs – Revisited

Well I thought I would be reviewing a different movie this week but one of my local cinemas was running a one off showing of Reservoir Dogs so I went along to visit Quentin Tarantino’s first large screen movie effort. You should be able to catch it probably on DVD or online on one of the streaming services out there.

I should say at this point that the first time round for this movie when it was originally released I was not a fan of this movie, maybe it was a shock to the system then that it was so graphic.

Having seen quite a few Quentin Tarantino movies now including the most recent The Hateful Eight, I thought that this movie deserved a second go. I am happy to report that second time around I can now see why this movie is loved by many movie fans.

We are used to seeing this style of movie in sequence, so it is a brave filmmaker that decides to tell the story in no particular order at all. That first scene with all the movie’s cast moving slo-mo across the screen with a 70’s soundtrack in the background is as nearly as iconic as that Beatles album cover Abbey Road.

We never really find out the names of all main protagonists as they are all given names of colours. Steve Buscemi’s little speech in the diner about wanting to change his name from Mr. Pink provides, what I think is one of the movie’s most particularly funny scenes.

After having seeing many more Quentin Tarantino movies since this movie was released, the violence while graphic probably does not shock in the way that it did when it came out first. However that is not to lessen one particular scene involving a captured cop.

It is very obvious even to the casual movie viewer that Quentin Tarantino is heavily influenced by movies of the 1970’s in particular and that influence can even be seen in his most recent effort.

Now I could give you an in depth breakdown of the movie scene by scene, but just let me say that if have yet to see this movie and you want to see Quentin Tarantino honing his craft this is a good starting point. Even if you have seen it before, like myself maybe go and revisit it like I did, it’s storyline is still as strong today as when it was released and as Tarantino was influenced by 70’s cinema I am sure in turn this will go onto influence future filmmakers.

Just a final note not particularly related to this movie, but if your cinema is running a movie from years past treat yourself. I have been to many re- releases of late and quite a few modern filmmakers could learn quite a thing or two. I think you will agree with me if you do to.

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The Big Short

Whether you were affected by the recent economic downturn or not, how do you explain exactly what happened to the average man in the street. Well director Adam Mc Kay comes at it from a humourous standpoint, whether this works or not will depend on your point of view and you will either come out in disgust at how the authorities dealt with what happened or laugh at what happened because it was so serious and you can’t see other way of viewing it. The movie reminds you as well that this is only what happened in America.

Adam Mc Kay, director of Anchorman does not seem the first obvious choice to tackle such a serious subject but maybe his look at the dire financial situation and what happened after, is as good a choice as any worthy documentary might examine it. I for one liked his take on it.

The movie comes at the story from the point of view of a number of characters. Christian Bale manages a fund manager who plays trash metal at top volume in his office. Steve Carrell plays cynical head of a trading firm who single handled wants to save the world from itself. Brad Pitt plays a Wall Street trading whizzkid who has decided to step back from it all, but is convinced back into the financial world by two young bucks who started it all from a garage. At certain points in the movie, the fourth wall is employed to explain how complex the financial house of cards came to be. Margot Robbie in a bubble bath, chef Anthony Jourdain and ex-Disney star Selena Gomez at a gambling table in Las Vegas are all employed to explain it to us.

What you may ask did these people do to have a movie made, well the answer is when the rest of the world was carrying on like the party would never end, they bet against the house taking out insurance and investing their investors money that one day the financial market would wake up one day with one serious hangover. In essence they saw the financial crash before it took place and placed their bets.

This is not the first movie to tackle this subject, another example being Margin Call from a few years ago and the more recent The Wolf Of Wall Street. This movie can be quite a hard watch at times, but stick with it and you will get a great story well told.

 

Room

Just let me say if you have yet to see this movie, it is not the movie you think it is before you walk through the cinema doors.

Apologies,before I start this movie review I am biased in favour of this movie due to the fact that I am Irish and so is this movie. Well actually a Irish / Canadian co-production but I am splitting hairs. I really liked Lenny Abrahamson last movie, the quirky left of field but enjoyable Frank.

Five year old Jack ( Jacob Tremblay ) lives in a room with Ma ( Brie Larson ), this is all he has known all his life and assumes what he sees on TV is made up and fantasy and that the room is the world and all it contains from time to time he is put in a cupboard by Ma when Old Nick comes to visit.

Then one day his mother sits him down and tries to explain to him that there is a greater world out there and that they must escape the room. This is only half the movie, another movie might stop the story at this point but Room continues the story and examines what happens next.

I watched this movie from the point of the young boy. You may when you go to see it come at from a different perspective, but which ever perspective you view it from it’s a great and affecting story. I myself think the actor who plays the boy has been somewhat forgotten in the plaudits for other actors in this film. The very fact that this is the first movie that he has tackled makes the story all the more impactful.

When we go to the movies, more often than not we want something escapist but do yourself a favour and expand your mind and absorb the great movie that this is.

 

Creed

An interesting tends to happen about this time every year as we are in the midst of awards season. More often than not you get one movie that you would like to see that week. But I had to think about which movie to review as there were three movies that are all worthy of review and I may come back to the other two later in the week. If I don’t, those movies are The Revenant – worthy of an award for the cinematography alone, the other being Room which I have yet to catch but I may be biased on waving the flag for this one as I am Irish and we seem to have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to the Oscar nomination nods announced earlier in the week.

How do you breathe new life into a franchise that has now reached number seven, I think maybe after number two, the movies may have lost some of their sparkle but this one actually relates to events that happened in movie number four.

Do you have to seen all the movies in the series ? Well that might be a partial no, but might be worth revisiting the first one at least if for no other reason than nostalgia. You might be literally punch drunk if you happen to want to tackle all six.

We find Adonis Creed played by Michael. B. Jordan in search of a new boxing mentor to inspire him. He alights on Rocky Balboa ( Sylvester Stallone ) who has now retired from his days in the ring and is not too ready to revisit those days. Rocky and Apollo Creed – Adonis Creed’s  father had traded blows previously in the ring before and does not seem like the obvious choice for a mentor.

It would have been so easy for this movie to wallow in nostalgia of what came before but thanks to great direction and good storyline it doesn’t do that. It sets up a new storyline which may lead to more we think depending on how this one does in the box office.

Whether you are coming to this movie for the first time or you are of an age to have seen the first movie neither will be disappointed. So if you are wondering what to go see at the movies this week, don’t forget check this one out also.

 

The Hateful Eight

Just let me say at the outset that while I have seen a lot of Quentin Tarantino movies I do not bow at the feet of him like quite a lot of Hollywood seem to do. In that vein,Quentin before you start your next movie maybe someone should be with you in the editing suite. A bit of cutting of the running time might have helped. Ok rant over.

So at the start of the movie, we find a stagecoach making it’s way through the snowy wilds of Post civil war Wyoming. Within the stagecoach is contained John ” Hangman ” Ruth ( Kurt Russell ) and his female prisoner Jennifer Jason Leigh who is being brought to Red Rock to be tried and hanged for a crime that is never outlined. They come across another bounty hunter played by Tarantino regular Samuel L. Jackson in the snow who is also making his way towards Red Rock and has lost his horse along the way.

After a bit of very nervous negotiations The Hangman decides to allow the other bounty hunter into the stagecoach. They also pick up another wayward soul along the way who says that he is to become the new sheriff in town.

Thanks to a bad blizzard the party are forced to stop off at a halfway-cabin called Minnie’s Haberdashery. On arriving, they are not the first to arrive and find four strangers already there.

Pretty much the rest of the movie’s running time takes place within the cabin and almost Agatha Christie like, now that they are confined within the cabin each person starts to question if the other people that they find themselves in the cabin with, are they who they say they are.

Well it won’t surprise you that being a Quentin Tarantino movie that any action that happens will not go lightly on the violence, so be prepared for that or may pick a different movie to go and see.

Quentin at first, when starting to sit down to write this movie said he intended this story to be a sequel or a follow on from his last movie Django Unchained but decided that this movie worked better if he removed the hero from the story. It meant that you really have no one that you can say that you might like within this movie as they all have their fault. Whether you think that this works I shall leave up to you, but I for one ended up not really caring about what happened to any of them.

Is this movie his best, no I actually preferred his mentioned previous movie more and it is clear that Quentin is a fan of all things movie related.

His hardest job might be however in convincing us whether this is our movie of the week as the modern audience, don’t really warm to the western genre anymore no matter how good the storyline is.

My Movies For 2016

Welcome back movie fans and I hope you had a great Christmas and have recovered from the New Year festivities. I thought before my starting into reviewing this year’s movie offerings I would look at some of the choices you will have to look forward to this year. It is not intended to be a comprehensive list and the dates may change and are based on Irish cinema openings. Some of these will not appear in any awards listings but are more likely to be popular with the cinema going public, so here goes.

Jan 8th – The Hateful Eight – Just hope that this time next week I am not saying ” I Hate The Hateful Eight “, don’t disappoint us Quentin.

Jan 15th – Creed – The talk has been good about this movie.Even though I am not a boxing fan looking forward to this one.

Also coming out on the same day Irish director Lenny Abrahamson’s new release Room. I think this one will appear in the Oscars list this year and we might even be competing against ourselves this year with Brooklyn.

Feb 10th – Get one back on your other half for dragging you to Fifty Shades Of Grey that came out about this time last year, Deadpool is out on this date. However they may just want to go thanks to Ryan Reynolds.

Feb 26th – Hail Caesar – Thanks to the Coen Brothers, it probably has little to do with the greatest days of the Roman Empire.

March 25 – Batman Vs Superman : Dawn Of Justice. Hopefully this one is not just made to satisfy the fans but might actually be a good movie.

Also out the same day Zootropolis – have you ever wondered what your pets do while you are at work ? Disney thinks it does. One of the best trailers I have seen in a long time. Hope the movie follows this.

April 29th – Captain America : Civil War. Go Cap, Go Marvel !!

May 19th – X Men : Apocalypse – Hopefully not a case of art imitating life.

June 24th – Independence Day: Regurgence. Ooops I meant to type Resurgence !!

June 15th – Ghostbusters – with a female twist.

June 22nd – Star Trek Beyond – Justin Lin steps into the director’s chair. J. J Abrams was off making some other movie, wonder what that was now let me think….

July 29thJason Bourne is back, no proper title yet. Matt Is Back anyone ?

Aug 5th – Suicide Squad – may have to visit my local comic book store for this one to find out who they are.

Sept 16th – Bridget Jones Baby – About time too Bridget, people were starting to talk.

Oct 28th – Doctor Strange – I feel another trip to the comic book store is due.

Dec 16th – Rogue One : A Star Wars Story – Even without the current title in your local multiplex and it’s current box office numbers, do I even need to finish this sentence and we have even yet to see a trailer. How many times have you seen The Force Awakens ?

 

 

Star Wars – My Story

I had mused on how I was going to review Star Wars – The Force Awakens without including any spoilers for those who had not seen it yet. What do you mean you have not seen it yet !!

Well I came to a decision. It is most likely that you will go and see it regardless of my review, so I decided that instead I will tell you my personal story of Star Wars way back in the mists of time in 1977, yes readers I am that old.

As I had just mentioned, the year is 1977 – flares and glam rock were in their heyday and disco was most people’s music of choice.

Picture the scene I am 9 years old being brought to the cinema by my Dad, my sister may have also come but time has dulled my memory, so sorry sis. We went to a cinema in Dublin city centre called the Metropole, now still a cinema but the movie choices have now moved to arthouse.

The Star Wars movie had come out in the summer of that year, but I didn’t see it till the Autumn of that year. This was a time in Ireland where you had to wait some months for American movies to be released into Irish cinemas. I remember it was Autumn as when we came out of the cinema it was dark outside.

Some of you are wondering why I am not referring to Star Wars with the moniker A New Hope to it. As I grew up I only knew it as Star Wars.

Well the lights went down after we were shown to our seats by the usher with a torch, this was a time where no mobile phone glows distrupted your viewing then and you might get an usher’s  torch shined in your face if you dared to open your sweet wrapper too loud.

The movie started with the rolling text that we have all now become very familiar and the now iconic John Williams music, The Star Destroyer appeared on screen and kept going and going,this is one big spaceship I thought. Then the stuff of a young persons nightmare’s appeared in black flanked by the sparkling white stormtroopers. Though I didn’t realise it at the time one of the greatest baddies in movie history had appeared for the first time. Both myself and my dad had been transported to a galaxy far, far away to reference a well known Star Wars line.

Well I could lay out the plot to the movie, but I am sure that like me you could probably quote me back whole scenes verbatim. My life changed in an instant and I had suddenly become a lifelong sci-fi fan.

Before I knew it the movie had ended and I didn’t want the movie to finish, I so wanted it to last a little longer.

My dad turned to me and said ” Don’t think I really got the point of that story “. Now with an older head on my shoulders, I think he understood it perfectly well, but just like me he did not want the fantasy to end as it had tapped into the little boy that always lasts in every man despite the passing of the years.

I wonder will children in years to come remember Star Wars : The Force Awakens in the same way.