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PODCAST: Film Focus Episode 26 – Double Review: John Wick: Chapter 2 & The Lego Batman Movie

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Howdy ladies and gents of the internet, as some of you may have seen, last year I started a film podcast entitled Film Focus and on this podcast I talk about various topics in film and reviews as well on a biweekly basis. The latest episode of the podcast features a double review for John Wick: Chapter 2 and The Lego Batman Movie. And in case you wondering where episode 25 is, it exists and you can listen to it here.

Anyway here’s the episode 26:

Now I really wanted to do a podcast episode about both of these films because not only did I have a little more to say about John Wick: Chapter 2 beyond my written review, but also because I didn’t do a review for The Lego Batman Movie and I knew I had to share my thoughts somehow so I included both reviews together because I wouldn’t have much of an episode if I talked about each film individually.

Here’s the time codes for the specific reviews:

  1. John Wick: Chapter 2 02:49
  2. The Lego Batman Movie: 15:10

As I mentioned before in each episode I’ll cover a different topic and since I don’t have much in the way of listeners or promotion, I’m here to spread the word about my podcast. 🙂

You can find my main site on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/film_focus

Or if you’re on iTunes subscribe and rate me on there: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/film-focus/id1114233892?mt=2

So if you have some spare time on your hands and would like to listen to the ramblings of a passionate/strange man then please check it out, and share it with your friends if you can. Also you have any feedback or if you’d be interested in joining on future episodes be sure to let me know, until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2017 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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ONE PARAGRAPH REVIEW: John Wick: Chapter 2

Today I get to talk about John Wick Chapter 2, a sequel I’ve been looking forward to for some time. I saw the first film not too long ago and really enjoyed it, and while I wasn’t in love with the idea of a sequel, I was curious to see what the filmmakers could do with this series going ahead.

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The plot can be summed up as the following: “After returning to the criminal underworld to repay a debt, John Wick discovers that a large bounty has been put on his life.” What I appreciated about this film was how it similar to the first but also how it found a way to be different at the same time, this sequel not only advanced John’s story, but also expanded the world and added extra layers to certain characters and information about the Continental and the nature of the assassin business. The plot felt like a natural progression from what’s come before and it was a fascinating and cool ride that added so much more to this series than I expected.

The cast was all super effective. Firstly Keanu Reeves as John Wick, what a beast. Reeves really suits this kind of role, he’s intimidating, tough and acts with a physicality and purpose that makes Wick so fun and engaging to watch. Riccardo Scamarcio also made for a great villain as Santino D’Antonio, here we had a character with purpose, motivation and a cool and charismatic demeanour. Common was also really great as Cassian, this is probably Common’s most notable role for years and I loved his performance and how integral his character was to the plot. Ruby Rose as Ares was pretty effective, while I didn’t think much of her too much at first I feel like the end of the film I did enjoy Rose’s performance especially with her fight scenes. Laurence Fishburne as The Bowery King was also quite interesting, while Ian McShane was really good as Winston,and the appearances of John Leguizamo, Lance Reddick, Peter Stormare, Franco Nero and Peter Serafinowicz was very much appreciated. Oh but the best part was the visual presentation, good god, this film brought it! This film had good lighting, a striking use of colour and sweet cinematography during the action scenes, and speaking of the action scenes… Dear god, I thought the first film handled the action pretty well, but this film cranked things up to eleven! The gunfights were longer and more intense, the hand-to-hand combat was brutal and car chases were fast and chaotic. And the violence, damn, there was a lot of great broken bones, car crashes, blood splatter and so on, and the way everything was set up was incredibly creative, and some of the death scenes were just badass!! I also really enjoyed the film score by Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard, it was very energetic and helped accentuate the action on-screen. In conclusion John Wick: Chapter 2 was a lot of fun and far better than I expected, with a solid story, good characters, awesome action choreography and violence, this is a sequel that’s worth watching.

So have you seen John Wick: Chapter 2 and if so what do you think of it? Be sure to leave your thoughts on the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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ONE PARAGRAPH REVIEW: Hidden Figures

Howdy ladies and gents, its time for my first review for a while in form of Hidden Figures, a film I’ve wanted to watch for months mainly because of the involvement of my girl Janelle Monáe.

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The plot can be summed up as the following: “The story of a team of African-American women mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the US space program.” What I appreciated about this film firstly was the story, the fact that these events actually happened at NASA was really fascinating, and regardless of how true to life this film was, I found the story to be quite captivating and engaging with all of the drama and segregation the main women faced, but also because of America’s efforts to beat the Russians in the Space Race. And while some of plot points and scenes play out in ways you’ve seen before if you’ve seen a drama based on true events, tis film was still very effective in its direction and execution of its themes and emotional content. As for the performances they were all really impressive. Firstly you have Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe who played Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. Each of these characters were smart, had very specific skills and had an uphill battle trying to follow their dreams, while Johnson was the primary focus of the film, I was also very intrigued and interest in the lives of Vaughan and Jackson too. Henson was really good especially during one specific speech, Spencer was as great as she always is and Moná, she was lovely and acted with such flair and conviction. I also really loved Kevin Costner in this film, Kirsten Dunst showed a different side to her than I’ve seen in the past which I liked, Jim Parsons who I don’t like in The Big Band Theory was actually tolerable/pretty good here, also Glen Powell was likeable and Mahershala Ali was really charismatic and charming too. Oh and the soundtrack crafted by Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams and Benjamin Wallfisch was really good, the original songs were super catchy and film score was also solid. In conclusion Hidden Figures was a really lovely film, it was very insightful, emotional and humourous with great performances, awesome music and an uplifting tone. I was so glad I got to see the film in my local cinema and I would highly recommend it.

So have you seen Hidden Figures and if so what did you think of it? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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PODCAST: Film Focus Episode 24 – Triple Review: Split, XXX: Return of Xander Cage & T2: Trainspotting

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Howdy ladies and gents of the internet, as some of you may have seen, last year I started a film podcast entitled Film Focus and on this podcast I talk about various topics in film and reviews as well on a biweekly basis. The latest episode of the podcast was a special one as I decided to try something tricky and interesting with a triple review for Split, xXx: Return of Xander Cage and T2: Trainspotting.

Anyway here’s the episode 24:

This is the first episode for a while where I didn’t have a written review done beforehand, so what you’re hearing is my thoughts in their freshest form, though as I stated in the episode the reviews are condensed versions of what I’d normally deliver, so I may still do written thoughts for all of these films, depends on the timing. Anyways please be sure to check out the reviews for any or all of the films I cover as they’re spoiler-free and fun to listen to (I assume haha).

Here’s the time codes for the specific reviews:

  1. Split 03:38
  2. XXX: Return of Xander Cage 11:17
  3. T2 Trainspotting 16:45

As I mentioned before in each episode I’ll cover a different topic and since I don’t have much in the way of listeners or promotion, I’m here to spread the word about my podcast. 🙂

You can find my main site on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/film_focus

Or if you’re on iTunes subscribe and rate me on there: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/film-focus/id1114233892?mt=2

So if you have some spare time on your hands and would like to listen to the ramblings of a passionate/strange man then please check it out, and share it with your friends if you can. Also you have any feedback or if you’d be interested in joining on future episodes be sure to let me know, until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2017 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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PODCAST: Film Focus Episodes 22 & 23: Assassin’s Creed & La La Land

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Howdy ladies and gents of the internet, as some of you may have seen, last year I started a film podcast entitled Film Focus and on this podcast I talk about various topics in film and reviews as well. Since I never made a post about episode 20, I decided to release both episodes in the same post with the first about Assassin’s Creed and La La Land.

Anyway here’s the episode 22:

And here is episode 23:

I’ve already written about Assassin’s Creed and La La Land, however if you’re not into reading then I believe you’ll find my audio commentary to be a little more comprehensive, entertaining and possibly funny. 🙂

As I mentioned before in each episode I’ll cover a different topic and since I don’t have much in the way of listeners or promotion, I’m here to spread the word about my podcast. 🙂

You can find my main site on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/film_focus

Or if you’re on iTunes subscribe and rate me on there: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/film-focus/id1114233892?mt=2

So if you have some spare time on your hands and would like to listen to the ramblings of a passionate/strange man then please check it out, and share it with your friends if you can. Also you have any feedback or if you’d be interested in joining on future episodes be sure to let me know, until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2017 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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QUICK REVIEW: La La Land

Howdy ladies and gents, how’s it going? So La La Land, the film that everyone has been buzzing about since critics it got released recently during in America and while the film isn’t out here in the UK officially until Friday I think, I got to see it at a Cineworld unlimited screening last night and I’m gonna tell you right now, I really liked this film and I’m gonna tell you why in this review. 🙂

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The story can be described as the following:

“This film tells the story of Mia and Sebastian, an aspiring actress and a dedicated jazz musician, who are struggling to make ends meet in a city known for crushing hopes and breaking hearts, and so this musical explores the joy and pain of pursuing your dreams.”

I really enjoyed this story, it had a really classic feel to it in its tone, narrative and when some critics say that this film is a love letter to old Hollywood films you can really feel it while you’re watching. The story had a lot of familiar elements and some parts you can predict, but it was handled with style, passion and care so when the drama, love, joy and etc go down its engaging and endearing. But what I didn’t expect was how deep, emotional and thought-provoking the film would be, this film covers a lot of themes when it comes to success and failure, compromise, having aspirations, following your dreams, and the trials and tribulations that can come with breaking into music and film industry. It was realistic and I think will not only resonate with people who are dreamers but also make people thinking about their own career paths especially if you’re a creative individual trying to get into the media industry.

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The cast was wonderful, but the main people you’ll remember is Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone who killed it! Firstly there’s Emma Stone as Mia Dolan, a girl who has great love for the film industry and had dreams of becoming a famous actress, and what I loved about her was playfulness and determination, and Stone was incredible, easily my favourite performance from her so far. Ryan Gosling was great as Sebastian Wilder, I loved his admiration for jazz and the fact that he continued to follow his dreams in spite of set backs and compromises he’s had to make, and Gosling is one of those guys I’m liking more and more with every film I see him in. Stone and Gosling had great chemistry and their characters’ love story was beautiful, engaging and felt natural. John Legend also did well as Keith, as did Rosemarie DeWitt as Laura Wilder and J. K. Simmons’ contribution as Bill was small yet unforgettable and hilarious.

The presentation was off the charts, visually and musically the film was stunning. Visually this film does some really impressive, surprising and fascinating work with the cinematography, colour scheme, lighting, set design and use of visual effects. I loved the amount of continuous shots this film was able to pull off, it looked like an insane amount of tracking shots. Oh and that dance choreography, LOVED IT! I’m a massive fan of dance choreography and this film had some pretty cool footwork especially in the extravagant dance numbers with numerous people all moving at the same time. Oh and the music was so nice, I wasn’t sure if I would like it considering the trailers, but it not only worked for the film, but it was pretty catchy, diverse and had a lot of jazz influences which I really appreciated. Justin Hurwitz’s score was magical, dramatic and infectious.

In conclusion La La Land made me think, made me feel and left a strong impression me long after I left the cinema. I had such a good time with this film and I highly recommend it, and that means a lot coming from a man who isn’t keen on musicals to begin with.

So have you seen La La Land and if so what did you think of it? Be sure to drop me your thoughts in the comments section below and I’ll see ya on the next review 😀

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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ONE PARAGRAPH REVIEW: Collateral Beauty

Now this was a film I was super excited about way back when the first set pictures were released with Will Smith and Helen Mirren, I was just giddy and intrigued to see another dramatic film with Smith and the incredible cast… However, I saw the trailer, and I wasn’t impressed, in fact I was underwhelmed. And then, when I found out the actual premise of the film online and how it was different from what the trailers was selling you, I was quite annoyed. So I felt like I was going to skip the film after the mixed reception I saw from the US release, but I thought “Screw it, let’s give it a shot.”

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The plot can be summed up as the following: “Retreating from life after a tragedy, a man questions the universe by writing to Love, Time and Death. Receiving unexpected answers, he begins to see how these things interlock and how even loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty.” Now I heard this film was either underwhelming or just downright bad (especially from what I’ve recently read online), so I expected the worst, but I walked out of the film liking it more than I expected. I feel like this film had some interesting elements with the story and characters, but the execution was messy and questionable. Mourning the death of a loved one is something we all deal with in different ways, some harder than others, and I felt for Howard played by Will Smith, and could understand the difficult situation that he put his co-workers/friends in. However what Whit (Edward Norton), Claire (Kate Winslet) and Simon (Michael Peña) do in this film to their supposed friend is some of the most crafty and terrible things you could do to someone who is grieving. I would have liked more a focus on Howard and less on his coworkers lives because I feel like they took the focus away from Howard which was the most interesting part of the film. At several points I questioned the moral and ethical integrity of the people in this film, and while the film tries to present both sides of the argument for why certain plot elements transpire in the way that they do, and some people do present some logic as to how and why what these people are doing to Howard is wrong, its like the characters just give in and you as the audience still don’t buy into it because at the end of the day what Howard and his coworkers did was still wrong. I feel like the performances from the cast ranged from good to questionable, I liked Kate Winslet as Claire and Michael Peña as Simon I tought was good with the dramatic material, Edward Norton had some bad material to work with as Whit, while Keira Knightley as Aimee/”Love”, Jacob Latimore as Raffi/”Time” and Helen Mirren as Brigitte/”Death” did fare better in their roles though Knightley had some questionable scenes too. The best material comes from Will Smith as Howard, Smith delivers a performance that mainly relies on his physicality, facial expressions and little dialogue, but he was really good and his dramatic chops were put to good use in my opinion. And finally Naomie Harris as Madeleine was also quite good, I predicted how she would factor in the film early on, but she was one of the better actors in this film and her scenes were quite engaging. In conclusion Collateral Beauty was not the train wreck I expected and there were small moments of drama and emotional material that worked for me, but is a film that was predictable, had too many convenient moments and feels morally and ethically wrong with a conclusion that doesn’t feel entirely earned, but I didn’t hate the film so it wasn’t a complete waste of time.

So have you seen Collateral Beauty and if so what do you think of it? Be sure to leave your thoughts on the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Assassin’s Creed (It Sucks!)

Howdy ladies and gents, time for a film review, the first of 2017 and how does one kick off the new year of film watching in the cinema? By watching a terrible film like Assassin’s Creed that’s how! Now I knew the film would be bad, I heard the reviews coming out of the US, but I didn’t think it’d be THAT bad, but good gravy what I endured yesterday was on another level of bad. I feel like I need to rant about this film a bit so sit back and check out my small assessment of this film.

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The plot for the film can be described as the following:

“When Callum Lynch explores the memories of his ancestor Aguilar and gains the skills of a Master Assassin, he discovers he is a descendant of the secret Assassins society.”

So Assassin’s Creed, where do I begin? The film is tedious, long, nonsensical and boring. And let me reiterate, BORING! The worst offence a film can commit is to be boring and good god man this film put me to sleep. The film has come minor interesting elements when focused in the past during the Spanish Inquisition, but we only spend a limited amount of time there and most of the film takes lace in the present and all of that material is dull and tiring. Half of the time I had no idea what was going on and when I was following the plot I was questioning the logic and decisions of all of the characters. The plot’s already pretty ridiculous with some of the history and mythology, and the people behind this film did a poor job of engaging you in the world but also buying into the concept of what was happening. After a while I just stopped caring, and I thought the film would end at least 3 times before it finally stopped and if the film didn’t feel long before you definitely felt it in the last quarter of the film where the film felt like it was dragging its feet. It was insufferable.

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The cast try their best with the material but even they can’t look good in this film because unless you are Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard or Jeremy Irons, you were irrelevant or used to further the plot. Most of the secondary characters have no depth or development which makes you wonder why they were in the film in the first place. Fassbender probably was the best as Callum Lynch and Aguilar de Nerha, but that’s probably because he has the most screen time, this might be the worst I’ve seen from him but this was probably more so the script than his acting.

Oh and the presentation, so lacking. Visually this film had some decent action scenes, but they should have been better, they lacked creativity, style and the sound effects for the punching, slicing/cutting of weapons and explodes felt lacking. The use of CGI was bad, far too many characters or locations were done using special effects and while some of it was unavoidable, at the same time it felt overused and since it wasn’t very polished, when it was bad it was really noticeable. Also whoever edited this film needs to be sorted out, not only was there too much editing within the fight scenes, but sometimes the quick edits during conversations or certain scenes was off-putting. The film score from Jed Kurzel was just bad, and had no impact, besides one track that I could remember towards the end, everything else was bad.

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In conclusion Assassin’s Creed was just bad, not the worst film I’ve seen, but just incredibly underwhelming and unremarkable. The film had glimmers of goodness and utilized the game’s basic elements, but at the same time it failed to bring the best aspects to forefront while creating all new issues for the film adaptation. Don’t waste your time with this film even if you’re curious, it’s a waste of time.

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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PODCAST: Film Focus Episodes 20 & 21: Rogue One & Top 10 Films 2016

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Howdy ladies and gents of the internet, as some of you may have seen, last year I started a film podcast entitled Film Focus and on this podcast I talk about various topics in film and reviews as well. Since I never made a post about episode 20, I decided to release both episodes in the same post with the first about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and my Top 10 Films of 2016.

Anyway here’s the episode 20:

And here is episode 21:

I’ve already written about Rogue One and my Top 10 films of last year, I believe my audio commentary on both subjects to be a little more comprehensive, entertaining and possibly funny. I feel like this is some of my best material since I started the podcast and even though I sound a little crazy, I would hope that my podcast would be worth your time.

As I mentioned before in each episode I’ll cover a different topic and since I don’t have much in the way of listeners or promotion, I’m here to spread the word about my podcast. 🙂

You can find my main site on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/film_focus

Or if you’re on iTunes subscribe and rate me on there: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/film-focus/id1114233892?mt=2

So if you have some spare time on your hands and would like to listen to the ramblings of a passionate/strange man then please check it out, and share it with your friends if you can. Also you have any feedback or if you’d be interested in joining on future episodes be sure to let me know, until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2017 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Howdy ladies and gents, how you doing? So it is Christmas Eve and up until yesterday I hadn’t watched any Christmas films, so I had a little time before work so I decided to rewatch one of my favourite films Kiss Kiss Bang Bang; a film that’s not your standard festive film, but takes place during the season. And since I’ve been meaning to review this film for around 3 years I thought now would be a good time to talk about it.

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The story for this film can be described as the following:

“A murder mystery brings together a private eye, a struggling actress, and a thief masquerading as an actor.”

This is a tale of murder, mystery, drama, coincidence and timing all rolled up into a smart comedic crime film, with a story was quite enjoyable and I always find joy in rewatching it just to see how much of it I can remember. There’s two key reasons why I love this story, 1) There’s a good balance between the humour and dramatic elements because there are some moments where both elements happen within very close proximity of each other, but there’s just the right amount of breathing room so you could be shocked or saddened, but then be elevated by the humour. And then there’s the way this film handles all of the different/seemingly unrelated plot elements and finds ways to not only tie it all together towards the end of the film, but also how it smartly has certain plot and character elements come into play which don’t play out in a conventional way. Plus the breaking of the fourth wall with the narration and certain visual gags that got used was really funny too. Overall it is an interesting little tale with lots of twists and turns, humour, and action, but it also gets a little dark and has some sad at times, but its all handled well by the sharp script and direction from Shane Black.

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The cast is fabulous especially when it comes to Robert Downey, Jr., Val Kilmer and Michelle Monaghan, these three in particular have solid performances and good scenes together. So let’s start with Robert Downey, Jr. who was perfect as Harry Lockhart. Here we have a character who has a troubled past and isn’t the best kind of guy, yet he is funny, witty and has enough redeeming qualities that you get attached and root for him as he goes on such a crazy journey from where he starts out to how he ends up. This for me was when RDJ became the actor we know him as today, the witty, charming and loveable man that we’ve seen him really show off in the Marvel Studios films since 2008, he brings his A-game and does really well as a man thrown into some unbelievable situations and has to deal with it the best way possible through luck, charisma and humour. And then there’s Val Kilmer as “Gay” Perry van Shrike, this is the most notable role from Kilmer in years since this film came out. His role as a private investigator was quite different yet well-suited to him, Perry was stern, sarcastic and uncaring, but was also endearing and humourous. Plus I adored the chemistry he has with RDJ, these two had such a such wonderful scenes together and after the film ends you can’t really imagine anyone else in these roles. Michelle Monaghan as Harmony Faith Lane was also really great, Harmony has an interesting role to play as one of the key pieces of the story and cast that makes this film so much fun, She’s an aspiring actress and Harry’s childhood friend who has an interesting backstory, view of the world and personality traits that’s both troublesome and attractive. Monaghan was not only gorgeous but also quite versatile and engaging in her role. Also Corbin Bernsen was also solid as Harlan Dexter, and seeing Rockmond Dunbar and Dash Mihok as Mustard and Mr. Frying Pan was great, these two had a small yet notable presence as Dexter’s henchmen.

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When it comes to the presentation visually the film is very nice, the cinematography is nice and has some lovely landscape shots and the use of colour is quite notable too. I also really liked the film score from John Ottman as it felt whimsical and dream-like, yet also being quite energetic and melancholy. And it also doesn’t hurt that the film also includes a slightly condensed version of “Broken” from Robert Downey Jr’s The Futurist album from 2004. 😀

Ah Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is still such a great movie, I’ve only seen a few times and it still makes entertains me highly. The direction is great, the writing is so clever and funny, I also love the soundtrack too and lastly Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer had amazing chemistry together. This is a film I highly recommend to everyone.

So have you seen Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and if so what do you think of it? Whatever your thoughts are leave them in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2016 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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