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SIMPLE REVIEW: Focus

Howdy people of the internet, after a bit of a gap away from the cinema I’m back to do my review for Focus. This review will be another one of my simple reviews where I try to sum up my thoughts on the film a concise manner. Now I have eagerly been anticipating this film for a while now mainly because it is Will Smith’s first film for a while and I hoped it would be good. So is it? Well read on and find out.

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So the story goes like this:

“Nicky Spurgeon is an extremely accomplished con man who takes an amateur con artist, Jess, under his wing. Nicky and Jess become romantically involved, and with Nicky’s profession of being a liar and a cheater for a living, he realizes that deception and love are things that don’t go together. They split, only to see each other three years later… And things get messy.”

I thought the story in this film was smart and well-executed. This film is part drama, part romance, part comedy and it does a balancing act between all of these genres. What I liked most about this film is the sense of style, the logic that comes with stealing and being a con people in general and its themes of trust and deception, mixing business with pleasure and never losing sight of your main goal. My only nitpicks are: 1) The film doesn’t really give you a specific indication of time that Nicky and Jess spent together so it is hard to buy the ‘love factor’ of their relationship. 2) One thing that the film does well is that it keeps you guessing and has a few twists and turns, it is great, but one does wonder if some of the bluffs were necessary.

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As for the cast they were all pretty good. So let’s start with Will Smith as Nicky Spurgeon. Smith is a very charismatic man and he’s always been a leading actor in most of his films, but here he is a little more subtle, he’s still a wonderful actor with charm and emotion, but he doesn’t overpower his other colleagues. I liked Smith in this film, his character while engaging and fun, was problematic, dubious and the least heroic person he’s played. Margot Robbie as Jess Barrett was also very good. Robbie came across as an actress who has been on the big screen for a while as she handled her role with style, charm and dramatic flair. Together Smith and Robbie has really good chemistry and you could really buy their attraction and relationship. Rodrigo Santoro did a goof job as Garriga and Gerald McRaney was pretty stern and funny as Owens. I really enjoyed BD Wong as Liyuan, this guy’s part was one of the best parts of the films. And it was great to see again Brennan Brown as he did a good job as Horst while Adrian Martinez provides many moments of humour as Farhad.

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In conclusion Focus is a good film, it has solid story with some surprises, humour and great lead performances from Smith and Robbie. While the film is not perfect and has a few issues, they are nitpicky at best and as a Will Smith comeback film it is a good return to form. I would recommend this film as it smart, heartfelt and kind funny.

Rating: 7.5/10

So have you seen Focus and if so what did you think of it? Please be sure to leave your comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2015 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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300: Rise of an Empire Review

Good day to you ladies and gents, time for another fresh film review and this one comes in the form of 300: Rise of an Empire. The 300 was fun at the time of its release but after a while I really started to dislike it and thought it was fairly overrated. Now I had zero interest in watching this film, I thought it was an unnecessary film to cash-in on the original’s former success, plus since every film since 300 has borrowed the same kind of visual style and action sequences I questioned whether it was really worth revisiting this world again. But for better or worse the sequel is here so let’s talk about it.

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So the story goes like this:

“After its victory over Leonidas’ 300, the Persian Army under the command of Xerxes marches towards the major Greek city-states. The Democratic city of Athens, first on the path of Xerxes’ army, bases its strength on its fleet, led by admiral Themistocles. Themistocles is forced to an unwilling alliance with the traditional rival of Athens, oligarchic Sparta whose might lies with its superior infantry troops. But Xerxes still reigns supreme in numbers over sea and land.”

I thought the story was serviceable as it was neither completely bad or really good either. The film presented some engaging and interesting storylines to check out beyond the plot of the last film. I think it was a neat idea to try and do a non-linear kind of film with multiple character stories taking place before during and after the events of the last film, but the execution isn’t as well done as well as other films that have attempted th same style of storytelling. It also doesn’t help that this film has a LOT of exposition that can become quite tiring at points.

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When it comes to the characters only a handful of them are worth mentioning as most of the cast are pretty unremarkable and don’t leave that much of a lasting impression. Firstly Sullivan Stapleton is good as Themistocles, as the main guy in this film he had a lot to live up to because of Gerard Butler’s performance and while Stapleton doesn’t have the same kind of screen presence or charisma as Butler, he is still pretty hardcore. Eva Green as Artemisia is a bit of a mixed bag, while Green is gorgeous, deadly and unforgiving, at the same time she is over-the-top, constantly moody and not as cool as I hoped she’d be. Plus Green’s fight scenes were pretty disappointing, they lacked any proper movement, style or unique traits. Lena Headey is still awesome as Queen Gorgo, I think I’ve really warmed Headey since watching her in Game of Thrones, she has a strong, dominant and awesome screen presence and she carries that over to this film to great effect. She was probably my second favourite character because she was cool, beautiful, courageous and could kick ass too in style. And then there’s Rodrigo Santoro who returns to do a good job as King Xerxes, the character still looks pretty ridiculous, but somehow has a very deep and manly voice.

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As for the presentation it is decent enough, though there are some flaws. This film preserves the 300 look pretty well, everything is dark, brown-ish and low in shadows. The film is also full of all the violence and slow motion you remember from the previous film… However the slow motion has increased by like fifty percent! I swear everything is in slow motion, people walking, fighting, turning, jumping, sharpening swords, dripping blood or sinking in water, all of it is in slow motion and it gets really old, really fast. About 85% of the film is in slow motion, it is absurd. The action sequences are pretty cool and is one of the film’s highlights, though the green screen doesn’t look as effective as it did before and the CGI blood just looks bad.

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In conclusion 300: Rise of an Empire is alright, as follow-up to 300 it is pretty decent. It basically introduces some new characters and story but keeps everything similar in the tone and atmosphere to the last film. If you liked the first 300 then you’ll have fun with Rise of an Empire, however if you’re overly interested in the last film then you won’t find anything new here.

Rating: 6.5/10 (The film mainly works thanks to its over-the-top fight sequences)

So what did you think of 300: Rise of an Empire? Have you seen it or are you gonna see it? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to leave your comments below and I’ll see ya on the next film review yo. 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2014 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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The Last Stand Review

Alrighty then this is the film I have been waiting to see for ages now (that seems to be a reoccurring theme with the films I’ve seen of recent), finally getting to see Arnold “The Legend” Schwarzenegger back on the big screen after almost a decade of absence. So is The Last Stand a good time or just a waste of time? Read on in this review to find out.

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So the story goes a little something like this:

“The leader of a drug cartel busts out of a courthouse and speeds to the Mexican border, where the only thing in his path is a sheriff and his inexperienced staff.”

I thought the story was good for what it was; it moved at a decent pace and was simple and straight to the point. While it is a bit cheesy, generic and predictable at times it still worked. Those looking for a much deeper story need to reassess what kind of film they are watching, action films have always been light on story and in today’s world of action films it is more about the spectacle than the actual story itself.

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For me it really was the characters of the film that made The Last Stand so much fun. Let’s start with the big main man himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger as Sheriff Ray Owens. Schwarzenegger was great as this rough-around-the-edges sheriff who protects this quiet town, he’s a nice guy but know when to get serious. Ray is a seasoned warrior who knows what danger is and will put up a good fight. Schwarzenegger though much older than before can still move around, handle a gun, drive fast cars and get into fist fights and make it look good. I liked how the film was aware of Arnie’s age and made scenes for him where he isn’t as fast as he was where he does take time to get from point A to point B and lastly he isn’t invincible like he was in some his previous films like Predator or Terminator 2. Arnie was cool and I also liked some his dialogue and the way he pronounced certain words. Also Johnny Knoxville as Lewis Dinkum was great, he had some great scenes with Arnie and wasn’t nearly as overbearing as I thought he’d be. He was relevant and useful so yeah I enjoyed the crazy and funny antics of Knoxville a lot.

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Now let’s talk about Luis Guzmán as Deputy Mike Figuerola, I swear this was like my favourite character in the film. He had the best lines in film and was funny as hell, the way he ran around and was in some of these dangerous and funny situations made him not only hilarious but also cool too. I seriously just want to meet Luis Guzmán in real life and hug him! Then there’s Jaimie Alexander as Deputy Sarah Torrance. Even though this is an action film full of gun shooting, car chases and explosions, Alexander still finds a way to look beautiful as hell. Besides that she handled herself pretty well and had plenty of action throughout the film so good on her. Rodrigo Santoro as Frank Martinez was good too, he was a useful member of the film that I didn’t expect and Zach Gilford as Deputy Jerry Bailey was nice, he had some funny scenes in the film. And lastly Forest Whitaker as Agent John Bannister was pretty good, he had some good scenes, some great exchanges with Arnie and I thought it was funny when he got frustrated and swore in the film, which was just great.

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As for the presentation of the film I found it to be pretty good, there were some well-organized gun shoot-out scenes and I liked the car chases too, they were filmed well especially the one part where there was a chase through a cornfield. There were some nice camera work used and I also thought that the violence in the film was nicely done too. I can’t really say much for the soundtrack, it worked where it needed to but it wasn’t overly memorable though.

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In conclusion The Last Stand is just a fun little action film that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It is a bit generic, cheesy and predictable, but if you’re willing to look past that then you’ll definitely enjoy the characters and the great chases and action sequences. Just don’t set your expectations too high and you’ll have fun with this film especially if you’re an Arnie fan. It’s great to see Schwarzenegger back on the big screen and hopefully this is the start of many more films to come.

Rating: 7/10

So what did you lot think of Arnie’s return to the big screen in The Last Stand? Did you like or hate it? Whatever your thoughts drop them below and I’ll catch ya on the next review yo! 😀

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2013 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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