Monday, 25 July 2011

Cinema Review - Horrible Bosses

Horrible Bosses recently hit the big screen and with such a stellar cast, including the likes of Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day it was clear to see from previews that this was going to be a big contender for one of the best comedies of the year. With support coming in the way of Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell and Jennifer Aniston, star power was there in abundance so it was just down to whether the storyline and gags could live up to expectations.
We find ourselves following the lives of three single men, each in their thirties, working for bosses they absolutely despise. Nick's (Bateman) boss Dave Harken (Spacey) is an harsh and evil individual who is harsh with time keeping and is blackmailing Nick into staying in the job he is currently in. Kurt (Sudeikis) on the other hand had the perfect boss until he had a heart attack and now his son (Farrell) has taken over the work empire, which unfortunately means Kurt has to now work for a boss who snorts cocaine all day and has an endless supply of prostitutes loitering in his office, he's a tool. Finally Dale (Day) has a very different boss (Aniston), a woman who is sexually harassing him non-stop, begging him to be unfaithful to his fiance and give in to his desires.

Three men with three very different bosses pushing them to the end of insanity. There is only one way to resolve their problems, the bosses must be killed. So our three guys head out to the roughest area imaginable to find their hitman to hire and soon come across one 'Motherfucker' Jones (a hilarious Jamie Foxx). Jones aids them in strategies to get the bosses killed in return for their hard earnt cash, something which produces some of the funniest scenes in the film. 

With the knowledge of their hitman solidified in their minds it is now up to the three men to take the initiative and rid their lives of the one thing that is holding each of them back. Will they have the balls to commit the perfect crime each or will they continue to live meaningless lives under the weight of their evil bosses?

Clearly from the previews this film was never going to be one of those where the funniest parts are shown in the trailer. With a lead trio in the form of Bateman, Sudeikis and Day you instantly have a winning combination. Then couple that with a supporting trio of Spacey, Farrell and Aniston, and you are laughing (literally). With names such as these on the roster you know you are going to get bang for your buck and the gags and laugh-out-loud moments just keep coming in what is definitely one of the funniest films to be conjured up in 2011.

It's hard to say who the stand out act is amongst the immense talent but a special mention must go out to uniquely talented Charlie Day. If you have ever watched It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia then you know what you are going to get with Day, and if not then you are certainly missing out. The guy delivers all his scenes with such hilarity that it is no surprise that he is now taking the jump to the big screen. Hopefully there will much more Charlie Day coming in future films. Additionally, a cameo appearance from Ioan Gruffudd must be noted too, with Wales' favourite actor unleashing a cringeworthy and unexpected scene which will have you splitting your sides, not to miss!!

Film rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The lowdown: Horrible Bossess, with its amazing cast and different storyline succeeds where other comedies have failed in producing a barrel load of laughs and an engaging plot with some good twists along the way. Much better than the Hangover 2 and certainly on a par with Bridesmaids. 

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Cinema Review - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 2 3D

Captivating audiences worldwide for the last ten years, the Harry Potter saga sadly draws to a close with the second part of The Deathly Hallows. A fantastic box office reign has led the Harry Potter films to be amongst the most successful franchises in Hollywood history; 7 books split over 8 films proving J.K. Rowling really does possess a magnificent writing talent. So how does the final chapter fare compared to the previous films?

David Yates’ fourth outing behind the camera begins as Part One ends, with Voldemort in possession of the Elder wand, the most powerful wand a wizard can have. With this wand Voldemort is near invincible and a showdown with Harry Potter is inevitable. As is the destruction of Hogwarts, with Voldemort’s legion of followers and Death Eaters surrounding the once serene school, ready to strike at the teachers and pupils at his command.

Meanwhile, Harry, Ron and Hermione continue their mission to destroy the Horcruxes, the sources of Voldemort’s power. With Harry continuing to experience visions from the Dark Lord’s mind, we delve deeper into the relationship between the boy wizard and the evil lord and there are revelations aplenty. Their quest for the Horcruxes eventually leads them back to Hogwarts and a reunion with close friends and teachers, resulting in a full scale battle between good and evil; a suitably epic spectacle for adults and children alike.

With the powers of good and evil clashing in a battle of mass proportions some previously fringe characters come to the forefront and shine just as bright as our regular heroes Harry, Ron and Hermione. Following a fantastic battle, we come to an epic conclusion that we have been waiting for for some time now, Harry Potter or Lord Voldemort, who will prevail in a fight to the death? Go see it to find out!!

Never has a finale to a film series received such widespread worldwide coverage than J.K. Rowling's final outing for everybody's favourite boy wizard, and what better way to end on a high. David Yates has essentially created an unforgettable ending to a film franchise that will live long in the memory and will be passed down through many generations. 

From the beginning spectacular shot of the Death Eaters poised over a waiting Hogwarts to the superb inevitable fight to the death between Harry and Voldermort, this film has classic written all over it. Although the shortest of the Potter films this by no means makes it the least fulfilling, very much the opposite in fact. With all loose ends being tied up and some frankly award-winning visuals and performances it is no wonder people are flocking to view what is clearly a front runner for one of the films of the year 2011.

Radcliffe, Watson and Grint all show they have grown in stature since the series began and the likes of Alan Rickman and Ralph Fiennes continue their dominant reign as the main evil-doers with such ease. Couple that with a broad array of British talent, from young newcomers to established Brit favourites, and you have the perfect British film at your disposal. It's safe to say that Harry Potter will forever be known as one of the best and most successful film series in history and there is no sweeter way to finish than with easily the best instalment of them all. 

Film rating : 5 out of 5 stars

The lowdown: Having grown up with the Harry Potter films through the years this was always set up to be the main event and by all means this has succeeded. Wonderful acting, breathtaking visuals and a ground-breaking conclusion to a fascinating story all make this the film to beat in 2011. Only downside - the 3D is slightly unnecessary but does not deter from a true movie masterpiece. 

Monday, 11 July 2011

Cinema review - Bridesmaids

OK, so Bridesmaids has been out for pretty much a month now but here finally is the belated Fanatical Film review. 

Opening with a hilarious scene between Kristen Wiig and Jon Hamm, Bridesmaids instantly hits you as being a film that certainly does not hold any punches and provides true hilarity throughout. As you would expect from any film involving comedy king Judd Apatow, a barrage of laugh-out-loud moments await from the very get-go and Bridesmaids is no exception.

Annie (Wiig) is a thirty something living in Milwaukee whose life seems to be going nowhere. Her cake shop business has gone under and she now works at a jewellery shop, she rents an apartment with two slacker siblings and her sexual partner is only interesting in the physical side and not a full blown relationship. 

When her best friend Lillian announces she is getting married, Annie is thrust into a massive commitment to the wedding, she is named as maid of honour. Attending the engagement party, Annie soon meets the bridesmaids she will joining at the wedding and realises that they all have their own crazy persona's she will have to cope with throughout the entirety of the wedding preparations. 

Lillian's husband-to-be's sister is an overweight sex-crazed loud mouth, the husband's boss' wife Helen is a prim and proper lady who wants to take over the maid of honour role and friends Rita and Becca are at two ends of the spectrum, one hates married life and one is a newlywed loving every minute. 

Needless to say, Annie's job soon turns out to be a massive weight on her shoulders and with Helen putting forward her ideas for the bachelorette party and other events it soon turns out the women are heading for Vegas. Cue a sublime aeroplane comedic scene and the plan fails, with the women finding themselves missing out on their destination of choice. 

Furthermore, things go from bad to worse for Annie, with food poisoning affecting the bridesmaids' fittings and chaos ensuing shortly after at the bridal shower. Moments which will have you wincing and laughing out loud simultaneously. 

It is no wonder that Bridesmaids has received such a warm reception from audiences and critics alike, with its kind blend of comedy, romance and warmth lighting up the cinema screen. Comparisons to The Hangover are completely irrational and if anything Bridesmaids manages to successfully usurp this year's outing from the Wolfpack. 

Expectations of a women-heavy comedy with excess profanity and toilet humour were somewhat low admittedly but Wiig and co totally bring their A game to the table and deliver a highly entertaining and rib tickling outing proud to be out there amongst the recent high rolling comedy movies. with Wiig performing to a high standard she is a hard person to be outshone but the clear stand-out in the crowd is Melissa McCarthy as Megan. From her first appearance in the movie to her very last she shows us how she can pack a punch in the comedy stakes and it would be brilliant to see her more in such films, comparisons could see her as the female Zach Galifianakis. 

Film rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The lowdown: A highly entertaining Apatow-produced comedy which surprises gleefully with its exceptional female cast. It's easy to say this will be one the best comedies seen by audiences for 2011. 

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Cinema Review - Larry Crowne

Tom Hanks is one of Hollywood's star players, the gentleman's gentleman and a star held in extremely high regard by his peers. At the pinnacle of his career, Hanks has starred in many an exceptional film so who can blame him for wanting to head behind camera again for his second directorial outing, Larry Crowne. 

Starring as the film's lead, Hanks portrays your run-of-the-mill American working at a department store earning his keep. Earning employee of the month on a regular basis, Larry is a lively man who loves his job. Unfortunately things come to a sudden end when he is fired from the job and left with a house to pay for on his own and no opportunities offering themselves to him. 

Finding out that his sacking was down to the fact he never went to college and got qualifications, Crowne is determined to better himself. Therefore, he goes to college in order to get those qualifications and make a new life for himself. 

Joining a group of very diverse students, Larry soon blends in with the younger generation and thoroughly enjoys his time as a college student, joining a moped crew and unexpectedly falling for his teacher Mercedes Tainot (Julia Roberts). Larry Crowne's college adventure is not just that, it's a turning point in his life.

Let's put things straight, dubbed a comedy drama Larry Crowne is little of either. Okay, a little humour every now and again fires it's way through to us through quirky Hanks and yard sale enthusiast neighbour Cedric the Entertainer but little in the way of brilliant humour. In terms of drama, the film is more romance and friendship based than dramatic. 

Hanks and Roberts' chemistry showcases years of experience in film, both rebounding of each other with such ease but this does not save the film from being little more than mediocre. Smaller roles from the likes of George Takei and Cedric the Entertainer are wasted opportunities and the story trudges along without really grabbing your attention as much as it should. 

Film rating: 2 out of 5 stars

The lowdown: Larry Crowne is a harmless and heartfelt film simply for those who enjoy a good love story. Predictable and nothing that hasn't been seen before, it will be one of Hanks' more forgettable outings in his fantastic career.