Drama

Demolition Review

Demolition tells the story of an investment banker, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, who after a specific occurrence which happens to him, goes on a bit of a rampage in his desperation to connect with something or someone.

Jake Gyllenhaal is one of the best actors of his generation. He chooses roles and new projects as good as anyone and especially small indie movies that resonate well with audiences. He is once again outstanding and had this movie been released closer to awards period, he probably would have gotten some Oscar buzz. There’s another outstanding actor in the film and his name is Judah Lewis, a 14-year-old who came out of nowhere, yet his performance is one of a rock star and it should put him firmly on the Hollywood map.

Bryan Sipe is the man responsible for the screenplay of the film and he has got to receive all the plaudits for one of the best written movies in the last couple of years. From start to finish he unravels this not very uncommon narrative, but with a very distinct texture, such charisma and unpredictability it’s hard not to enjoy every moment of it. He finds the smartest ways to tell the story the way he wants without going out of his way to get something in for the sake of it. Aided by very good directing, the story is allowed a flow and edginess whilst not constantly attempting to fill it with pretentious arcs and clichés.

The movie rides a very fine line between comedy and drama. It’s not very often that a movie is so funny but also so intensely dramatic at times. Pardon me for the cliché, but it’s a rollercoaster of emotions, without drowning itself on its emotional dynamism, it thrives on it, as it lets the viewer inside, giving the reasons and explanations behind everything that happens.

An exceptional piece of storytelling with tremendous acting.

9/10

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Review

The title certainly hints at what the movie is about but to expand that a bit, it’s about Greg, a high school senior student, who doesn’t really socially interact with other people, except with his “co-worker” Earl.  Circumstances have it so, that he comes to meet a girl who might or might not be dying as you already figured out.

The script is excellent, it has everything in it and it all comes from the incredible dialogue and great narration, which is executed perfectly from our main guy Greg, portrayed by Thomas Mann.  It can be funny, sad, touching, and tense within one scene, emotions are so interchanging that you cannot settle for one moment.  All the clichés are brushed aside allowing a new narrative that we haven’t experienced previously, unravel before our eyes.

A mention needs to be given to Jesse Andrews who wrote both the novel and the impeccable screenplay for the movie and of course the director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon who brought the story and characters envisioned by Andrews, on film and did that exceptionally well.

The plot is unusual and the whole movie is made even more so by non-conventional filming, with shots from all different and irregular angles.  Where you would expect a close-up we get some odd-wide angles; the camera never sits still, it keeps moving all the time and it just helps intensify that feeling of perspective that the movie is all about.

One of the best movies of the year and a must watch for everyone.  It’s probably in contention for best adapted screenplay.  Film-making at its very best.

8.5/10

True Detective Season 2 Premiere Review

From the first evidence, this seems to be an even darker themed season than the previous one. With perplexing characters that aren’t in the mood to let the whisky down and continuously make questionable decisions. We probably need more to go on, in order to fully understand them and their actions, however we’ve got enough to be intrigued.

Colin Farrell portrays Ray, a character that for those that watched the first season, looks to be more than a loose cannon than what McConaughey’s Rust was. By that, the clear assumption is Farrell had his work cut out for this one but from this first look he delivered, hopefully the great performances continue until the end. The same holds for the all the members of the great cast which includes, Rachel McAdams, Vince Vaughn and Taylor Kitsch. Judging by that it should be a great watch.

There is again the feeling of watching a true cop show, maybe even more than before, with the cops/detectives not being invincible heroes, but real human beings with problems and obstacles than need to be overcome. Maybe over-dramatizing them slightly, nevertheless without removing their integrity and authenticity.

The episode, continues along the lines of slow pace, and all it gives for the most part are unconnected dots and disjointed characters and plot. However in the final minutes, just when you start wondering what the heck is going on, you start to put the dots together and everything starts to make a bit of sense; and we are off, already anticipating the next episode.

Many have posed the question: Can this be as good as the first season? And although the final verdict will come after the last episode, one can only be optimistic from this first taste.

8/10

Maggie – Review

This might be another movie built around zombies, but it is definitely not a repetition of the familiar theme. It changes things up and that is its best attribute. The viewer is expecting a zombie apocalypse yet the story is bound by the limits of reality. When one gets infected, the virus requires a certain amount of time before it takes its toll.

There are no action sequences, there are no heroisms with the sole goal of saving the world. This is the story of a father making sure his daughter gets treated right no matter what happens, even if that means taking the most painful path that leads, through fire and flames with no protection and no safety guarantees, to salvation.

The movie takes us on a journey, with father and daughter, from life as they know it to the darkness, to the unknown. Society is as ruthless as always, once again we witness its cruelty and whilst there are a few exceptions, human beings transform into heartless animals when their safety and well-being is in danger.

In the end, it all comes down to the choices we make, the harder they are the bigger impact they will have both on us and those near us. Sometimes those most arduous, need to be chosen in order to protect those we love, but will we be able to handle the negative effects they will most certainly have on us. It’s always easier if someone else can make the choice for us, but we don’t always have the luxury, most of the times the burden falls heavy on our shoulders.

Can a bond between two loved ones be strong enough to withstand the pressure in even the most difficult of times?

7/10

Gone Girl-Review

Directed by the master of suspenseful thrillers, David Fincher once again pushes the story to the boundaries, while maintaining the highest possible level of character development in a movie he manages to keep the audience on the edge of their sit with his ability to shock and surprise.  Fincher didn’t make everything happen on his own of course, he was given a great story by Gillian Flynn who wrote both novel and screenplay, and he manages to use the emotion and atmosphere that is depicted in the story and paint clear pictures through filmmaking that mirror reality.  He expertly executes his vision of the narrative and comes out with a stunning result that leaves viewers with agape mouths.

Moreover in addition to Fincher’s masterclass, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross provide the best possible music score, a disturbingly haunting composition which complements the film’s theme to the maximum and enhances the tension in every scene.

Rosamund Pike gives a fascinating performance that is part of the reason why by the end of the movie everyone is left in awe, along with Ben Affleck’s honest and underrated performance and a great effort by the whole cast bring this complex story to life.

The movie takes us on a thrilling ride, benefiting from Fincher’s genius and ability to take us into the deeper ends of the story challenging us to follow it as it unravels.  It allows the viewer to grasp the journey to its fullest, to understand the characters and their actions and maybe even relate, to some degree at least.

A must watch, David Fincher piece of art

8.5/10

Whiplash-Review

Nobody was expecting it to be this good, even though there were signs that it could have been decent. I have watched it for a total of three times up to now, first time being back in 12th of December (credit to Odeon Screen Unseen, which brought it a month early and half price in the UK) and it gets me every time how it portrays the misinterpretation of people’s actions and how we, as human beings perceive others in the way that suits us better, that allows us to sleep better at night.

The narrative is very simple, yet fascinating, we engage in an exploration of reality-bound yet intriguing characters backdropped by a musical setting, it could have been any setting, yet the choice just amplifies the feeling of intensity in every scene. It’s a world, brought to life by mesmerizing acting. J.K. Simmons is sublime, I knew he was going to get at least an Oscar nod, the moment I left the cinema; majestic performance.

One of my favourite movies of 2014. A fascinating story of what a combination of hard work, belief in thyself and being pushed to the limit of your abilities can help achieve. Some people can handle it and manage to thrive while some others cannot, and they simply implode.

A truly captivating experience.

8.5/10

Wayward Pines Ep. 1 Review

First word that comes to mind after watching the first episode is Mystery.  Such an Intriguing story, with peculiar events happening that by the end of the episode as you might have already guessed, it will leave you wanting for more.  It’s just so perplexing at times and enigmatic, we don’t get a straight answer.

Matt Dillon got me on the edge of my sit half way through the episode and I remained there until the end.  He portrays Ethan Burke, a Secret Service agent with a few mental issues, and he gives me the chills every time he gets agitated about something.  His voice pierces right through me every time and Dillon’s interpretation of the character makes the story so much more cryptic, it’s like everything is trying to keep us away from the truth.  Can’t talk about the other actors because that would be a bit of a minor spoiler for the nit-picky, so let me just say, they are great.

Something tells me this is one to watch, it’s going to be a very interesting story to say the least and it’s surely going to be provide us with an enthralling watch.  Hopefully I am not wrong on this one, I am putting my neck on the line after all.

Try not to break your mind watching it.

8/10

TV review-Better Call Saul Season 1

Early on it becomes apparent that Jimmy McGill is Saul’s real name. A good fellow that seems to always put his interest on par with the interest of his clients, you might even say that he is more favourable towards the people he is helping (being clients or not) than himself. At times he leaves himself exposed and goes in great lengths for the benefit of others even if that means sticking his neck out. On the other hand we can see how Jimmy might become Saul, for those that are familiar with him from his Breaking Bad time, since we get frequent flashbacks to his old self, who based on all accounts, was quite the cheeky con man, “Slippin’ Jimmy” as they call him.

The best part of the season has to be the “Slippin’ Jimmy” flashbacks, they were full on funny and entertaining and always gave us some insight on who this Jimmy fella is and some clue on where our beloved Saul Goodman is hiding. Up there with the best moments was the story arc of Mike Ehrmantraut, another of the Breaking Bad characters, and his interactions with Jimmy. Jonathan Banks once again gives an amazing performance as Mike, the low profile but hands on action “grandpa”.

Most of the time the show remains low profile its self with not many, if any, overexciting episodes that keep you on the edge of your sit. It’s mainly a character development season with a good, solid narrative that leaves you wanting more.

It was a very good introduction to the first steps of Saul Goodman in the law business and for those that appreciate the Breaking Bad comparisons, it was probably slightly better than the first two seasons of that show and certainly more enjoyable, without the wives or the boring parts.

8/10

Movie Review-A Most Violent Year

This is a smart, gripping and thought provoking film that slipped under the radar. Oscar Isaac gives a simplistic yet great performance as Abel Morales, one that brings memories of Al Pacino as Michael Corleone, and that is the biggest complement I can give him. Supported of course by the amazing Jessica Chastain.

Abel is the most intriguing of characters, even though driven by success, he maintains his integrity and never turns away from his moral compass. We follow him in a small part of his journey to success, waiting to see whether the tension will get to him, making him change his righteous ways. His personality is typified in what he says: “The result is never in question for me. Just what path do you take to get there?”.

Smart directing, strong reality-bound characters, compelling dialogues and a solid script, allow us to feel the fear and alarm that fill Abel and his wife, in his efforts for prosperity.

Be warned though, the movie is slow paced and not your regular action packed Hollywood movie. Still it remains riveting and intriguing throughout.

8/10

Breaking Bad-Full Review (No Spoilers)

Breaking Bad demonstrates the power of television, with some of the most fascinating episodes ever broadcasted, with captivating acting and stunning film-making.

Bryan Cranston’s performance is simply breathtaking. Every actor in the show did an excellent job, especially Aaron Paul, who was stupendous, but Cranston was just different class from everybody else. Everything starts and finishes with his performance, he is the alpha and the omega. One of the best performances I have ever experienced and it
lasts for 5 whole seasons. How was that even possible I will never be able to understand. He is always at it, being Walter White and he manages to shine. He gels everything together, even during the first two seasons when the story feels a bit stagnated, and generally whenever that happens, he still comes out on top, keeping the viewer at the edge of their sit.

We could talk about the inaccuracies and things that wouldn’t realistically happen, people not reacting as people in real life would, but then if we are looking for something that is as dull and uninteresting as our daily life then why are we even watching movies and TV shows (there are some exceptions of course-see:Boyhood).

The intricate way that the series is shot has left me in awe. Not sparing any expense and taking the time to take shots from different angles, different places just to make it more immersive, making it feel as if we are spectating from up close. Shots from shovels, vacuum cleaners,from under glass, in the ground, every place that you could think of. Taking us further and deeper, not just scratching the surface, both metaphorically as a TV series and literally.

The music in the show is absolutely superb, every song, every piece of music, or even every sound they decided to include was spot on, augmenting the feelings of the viewer that occur in any particular scene, anxiety, suspense, happiness, enjoyment, everything was masterfully executed.

The montages of cooking, dealing, killings, daily routine or anything that they were supposed to show, were expertly implemented, choosing the best possible song that would complement the picture on screen the best.

The whole story from start to finish was as absorbing and interesting as a story can be, and it’s the fundamental building block that makes the show so good. Even at times when episodes were more filled with Marie and Skyler boring us to death with their whining wife stuff, I was still interested to see what Walter will do next. Just about the middle of part of season 4 and up to the end of season 5 (every episode in season 5 was absolutely astonishing, masterpiece of a TV series season) Breaking Bad provided us with some of the best, if not the best television that one can see.

If you haven’t watched it, you probably should just because of season 5 alone, but be warned, it’s not gonna be easy, some episodes are very wearisome, mainly up to season 3.

8.5/10