Tag Archives: June 2016

The conjuring 2

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The Conjuring is one of the best horror films of recent years, it’s brilliant cast and well crafted scares outdid the cliché plot on the surface. After an abysmal spinoff which ruined everything good about the original, a sequel was very risky in my books. Was it going to be the same as Annabelle? or the original? Bearing in mind Annabelle made a similar amount of money as the conjuring did, it could have gone either way. Well thankfully the conjuring 2 decided to lean in the way of its predecessor, and not Annabelle, the result? one of the best films of the year so far and one of the most well made horror films of the last 15 years.

I’ve spoken a lot about Modern horror (anything past the year 2000) in my reviews and how much I usually dislike it. But every so often you get a gem, a “It follows” or a “Saw” will pop up in the midst of crap like “Paranormal Activity 5” or more recently “The Darkness”. There are probably a handful of truly great Modern Horror films that can be compared to the levels of classics like say “The shining”. I admit it’s a hard level to reach but the majority of attempts don’t even come close to it. For me I can’t speak highly enough of “The conjuring 2” everything about this film is near flawless. James Wan has managed to create an intense thrill ride that not only doesn’t cop out in scares, but is brilliantly made.

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The Conjuring 2, as I just said, is directed by James Wan and stars Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga again as Ed and Lorraine Warren. This time the film is tackling the infamous Enfield case, in which a young girl is possibly being possessed by a poltergeist. The film follows a very similar format to the original with it opening with a previous case and then switching back an forth between Ed and Lorraine, building up the horror in the Enfield house, only for the second half of the film to bring both parties together. My issue with the first film is primarily about clichés, 80% of the plot and scares could be predicted very easily which ruined some of the fun that it was bringing. However even when predictable the film managed to entertain me and surprise me by how well done each scare was. This film completly fixed that issue, both the plot and the majority of scares are completely devoid of clichés, with only 1 or 2 odd scares being predictable. Even the predictable ones were still fun though, they were mostly big scares so they’re satisfying enough for you to still enjoy them. The main joy for me though came from the fact that I thought I knew the scares. I thought I had a scare figured out but then as if from nowhere the scare would completely change. Because of all this the film is genuinely scary and unique. At no point are terrible sound cue jump scares used and James Wans signature use of practical effects is truly at its best here.

The cast is again fantastic, from the children’s genuine fear being evident too Ed and Lorraine’s insanely good chemistry in screen the cast is somehow better than its predecessor. I’m glad to say that the conjuring 2 had brought back my trend of amazing child actors and I’m hoping that in the future this continues. These kids can show terror, most adult actors struggle to show as realistic terror thpse kids some of which are around 11 years old. My only issue with the cast is the young boy with the stutter, although not in it very often when he is it can get slightly annoying and feels a bit forced. It doesn’t however at any point deter from the scares on screen. There is a man in this film (I’m avoiding spoilers as much as possible) called bill, saying as little as possible this was amazingly cast and he does his jo

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b very well.

This film has some of the best directing and cinematography I’ve seen in not only a mainstream Horror film but indie horror as well. The use of certain uncut tracking shots is brilliant especially when introducing the family this film is about. The shots and use of Dutch angles to me seems perfect and is exactly how i would have done it had me been in James Wans shoes. I never felt like any type of shot got over used and I really liked the quick crane shots.The editing is fantastic, a perfect example of this would be the opening case (amytiville). The long tracking shot and the amazing cuts when the air shotgun is fired is highly intense. Every second of this scene is drowning in excellence, it’s easily my favourite scene in the film and it sets you up for the tension that follows. The only technical aspect is wasn’t a fan of was the CGI, it’s not a lot but every so often there was a CGI window pane, or something similar, and this slightly took me out of the moment. This was so minimal that it again rarely effected my experience. The script was amazing however I have one slight issue that I will elaborate on later. The directing is brilliant, the way this film comes together shows how good James Wan is, no aspect of the film feels like it’s let down by another.

As I mentioned the script has one slight issue, while for 95% of the script is sublime there are a couple of times where I feel like the “British slang” is very forced and cliche. The perfect example would be the first screen of the children in the school yard in which in a 2 minute scene we hear “wanker”, ” Bloody hell” and I’m pretty sure I hear the word “governor” at some point. It’s the worst scene in the film and thankfully this very rarely makes it past this short scene. I don’t know what Americans think we talk like, but it’s not this at all.

From start to finish this film is near perfect. I love the cast, directing style, scares, plot and cinematography which is rare for a film like this. If the first one was good this blows it completely out of the water. My favourite films this year are all films that have completly surprised me; Hardcore Henry, Everybody wants some (both of which will be reviewed soon) and now the conjuring 2 it’s been a great year for films so far I just hope we get more gems like this.

Written By Dawson Roberts

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Release Date- 17th of June 2016

Directed by- James Wan

Produced by- Peter Safran, Rob Cowan, James Wan

Screenplay by- James Wan, Chad Hayes, Carey Hayes, David Leslie Johnson

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The Boss

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The boss is the latest film starring everybody’s favourite fat friend Melissa McCarthy. Melissa McCarthy has a issue of being very type cast, every single film she’s been in she plays the same character, from “Identity theif” to “Tammy” she always seems to play this fat character that’s always a bitch to everyone around her. The boss as expected puts Melissa McCarthy in the exact same role as every other film she’s been in and makes her a unlikeable character who with the help of a likeable character becomes likeable herself. It’s generic and unimaginative which unfortunately is now what you expect when you see a Melissa McCarthy film.

The film is directed by Ben Falcone and surprisingly is written and produced by will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Melissa herself. You’d think with a group of talented comedians such as that this film would have a lot of potential however it really doesn’t. The plot follows Michelle Darnell a very rich and successful entrepreneur who after a fight with her ex samurai boyfriend (Peter dinklage) gets arrested and loses all her money. This means she now has to deal with normal people and right her wrongs,so to do that she destroys an entire girl scout group, forms “a brownie empire” and tries to make her fortune back. While that to some may sound funny to some, to me it didn’t work very well. Much alike everything in this film it’s a very generic story with little to no imagination. The story never goes anywhere substantial, we get a very cliche sub plot about what it means to have a family and a bit of a “fight scene” at the end. Of course not every comedy needs a amazing story to be a great comedy (Deadpool is a good example of this) if the film consistently makes you laugh then it does it’s job. Admittedly it doesn’t take a lot to make me laugh and on a couple of occasions the film did make me chuckle, the rest of the cinema however (which I’ll add was quite full) were not laughing at all. When I saw 22 jump Street the entire cinema was in hysterics and the same goes for most comedies I’ve seen in the cinemas, but this film could not elicit a single laugh from the audience. The key to making a good comedy is simple, make people laugh. When your film fails to do that for the majoirty of its runtime it’s a sign this film isn’t very good. As I said at times it did make me laugh and so in some respect it did it’s job, but none of the jokes were very imaginative or clever.

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Were never not told that Melisa McCarthy is a rich self centred fat cat

The cast were all round very average, none of the child actors were any good and it’s ruined my recent trend of great child actors (ignoring “The darkness”). Mellisa McCarthy did nothing different to any other role she’s ever played and it just led to more dull moments. She’s been so typecast now that just seeing do anything remotely different would be a welcome surprise. Kristen Bell plays the friend and ex colleague of Melissa, Michelle, and is truly awful. She comes across as awkward and the least motherly a person can be. It’s surprising how bad she actually is considering her track record is relatively okay. There’s simply no life or emotion in her character, I never felt any connection to her and it just seemed like she was doing the bare minimum in ever scene. Peter dinklage has been shown to pretty awful in almost everything except game of thrones and while in this he’s the best actor it certainly doesn’t mean he’s good. He always seems awkward on screen and I don’t think this role worked particularly well for him, it would have been better if it had been someone like will ferrel and he had more screen time. Peter is funny but i still think its not really the right role for him. The fact we see very little of his character is the reason I don’t think he’s very good in this, he’s underdeveloped and when on screen he’s really funny so it confuses me why he’s in it so little.

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Peter Dinklage is the best part of the whole film and he's not even that good

The directing is pretty dull and uninspired along with pretty much every other technical aspect. A highlight could be the slow motion fight scene between the girls but even that has been done plenty of times before. The Soundtrack is very generic and boring and cinematography is not at all impressive like the majority of things, it’s the bare minimum. It’s hard for me to talk about any of the technical aspects because none of them are at all interesting, they’re not particularly bad but they’re not good either, just average.

Now obviously I’m not going into this film expecting a masterpiece but I would have liked more than what I got. Mellisa McCarthy needs to try something different which is probably what ghostbusters will be, however I’m not speaking about the sin that is the ghostbusters reboot just yet, it’s become boring to see her in this role where she’s just everyone’s worst nightmare. Every aspect of this film is boring, yes there’s a couple of laughs but this is not something I recommend to anyone. Go and see the conjuring 2 because this is not worth your time.

Written By Dawson Roberts

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Release date- 10th June 2016

Directed by- Ben Falcone

Produced by- Ben Falcone, Melissa McCarthy, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Chris Henchy

Written by- Ben Falcone, Melissa McCarthy, Steve Mallory

The nice guys

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For a film that started off quite slow and seemed to be going nowhere this film had one of the best third acts I’ve seen in a very long time.

The nice guys is directed by Shane Black and stars Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling as two “investigators” who are searching for a girl named Amelia. After an initial misunderstanding the two partner together to help solve the case of missing Amelia and why, seemingly, everyone is looking for her. Now I’ll straight away point out that I’m not the biggest advocate of Ryan Gosling. I feel he’s quite overrated and I, before 2016, had yet to see a film starring him that I enjoyed. However this year “The big short” and now this are starting to turn me around a little bit. Gosling took this role by storm, he was consistently entertaining to watch and never failed to put a smile on my face (even if a joke didn’t hit right). Russell Crowe on the other hand initially felt a bit out of place, as the film went on though he definitely seemed more comfortable in the role. He came across as awkward and nervous, which is not what I should have been feeling considering he plays a badass hitman with years of experience. As I said, he does seem a lot more comfortable towards the end of the film but when he’s supposed to be a highly experienced “Investigator” (for lack of better word) you’d think he’d seem less awkward in his role. The rest of the cast was all relatively good, the goons did there job and were funny when on screen and the other small supporting characters were all funny and well cast (especially people like the bicycle boy near the start). A special mention goes to Angourie Rice who plays Holly, Ryan Gosling’s daughter, she proves that child actors can be just as competent as adults and that she can be just as funny as the huge stars she’s around. She’s one of the best child actors I’ve seen since “Room” and really stood out to me, I feel like we’ll see more of her in the future.

The plot for me took a while to kick in, avoiding spoilers, the first act was good.I liked the initial setup and the development of the mystery was intriguing and while the majority of this act was shown in trailers it still entertained me (that’s less an issue with the film but an issue with marketing). The second act is where I feel the film lost steam, it dragged on a bit and besides the party scene the jokes didn’t land as well as they did  the first act. There is a haphazard attempt at character development between Ryan and russell that I felt was completely unnecessary in this act (I’ll refer to this as the pool scene). It had tone issues and while it set up one good joke it’s idea of trying to develop the relationship between Ryan and russell wasn’t at all needed because we got enough of that through their scenes anyway. Maybe if there had been more attempts at developing this relationship then this scene wouldn’t have felt so out of place and unneeded.

Now while I don’t mention anything in particular here, the rest of this paragraph could be deemed as spoiler territory.

The second act also brought the reveal of why people are looking for Amelia and considering how much the film had built up to this moment I felt really underwhelmed. This was supposed to be the big elaborate reveal but yet it felt quite predictable and uninspired. It wasn’t until in the third act, in which much more is revealed, that I started to get back on board with this film. In fact the entire 3rd act saved this film from becoming a disaster. Compared to the rest of the film this last act is more exhilarating, funny and interesting than all of the rest of the film combined. The set piece of the hotel/showroom is the most interesting of the film and the action is also really well done. The plot continues to surprise even at such a late stage and the bee scene shown in trailers is a highlight of how insane the end gets. The jokes take new extremes and the actual ending to the film was satisfying.

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"Wanna see my dick?"

The film is directed really well, Shane Black continues to prove himself as a great director and this film has a very distinctive style. I liked what he did with a lot of the shots and I have nothing but praises for that side of things. The script, while consistently entertaining isn’t always hilarious. Not every joke hits the way I think they hoped it too, the laughs in the quite full cinema also backed this up, yes some pay off well but there was too many times I wasn’t laughing when I knew I was supposed to be.

Now what seems to have become a thing in these reviews is me picking a technical aspect that stood out to me and discussing it in depth, usually this is negative however sometimes it can be positive. I’ve decided that I’m gonna do this for all my reviews now and if you’re not interested in the paragraph you can always skip to the verdict.

For the first time in a long while the soundtrack in this film stood out to me. Normally I won’t notice it unless it’s really striking and well done (I.e “It follows” and “Pan’s labyrinth”) however this film stood out to me for a completely different reason. It was completely bland, dull and not fitting to the plot at all. This film has probably one of the weakest soundtracks I’ve heard in a long time. If you ignore the use of two or three actual songs from the 70’s, which I will say fit well in their scenes, then the rest of the soundtrack was really poor. All of the music was dark and monotone and there was no up beat 70’s style beats like there should have been. There are films set in this timezone that have Amazing soundtracks and really take advantage of the disco setting and the colourful music of the 70’s, this however stuck to generic music that took away from some of the exciting action on scene. It honestly seemed like they’d got all their music off a “ambient music” or “intense music” video off youtube or some other generic genre defining music. The soundtrack is also the main reason as to why I disliked the pool scene so much. The joke of the pool scene was the highly contrasting conversation and tone with it being overall funny but in a serious way. So I have no idea why Shane Black decided to use this dark, mysterious music as if they were about to uncover some huge mystery. It added a third tone to the situation which didn’t work at all and threw off what could have been an interesting set piece. I actually feel like that scene and a few others would have faired better without any music at all. There is a distinct lack of scenes without some form of generic music in them and while not vital it could have helped the tone in places. Why Shane couldn’t have made the music a bit funkier I don’t know, but this bland and dull soundtrack stood out as being particularly awful.

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"Tell us all you know and he'll stop doing it"

Now while a lot of what I’ve said has been negative, I actually really enjoyed this film. In most comedies it’s rare for every single joke to hit the audience (unless you’re anchorman 2) in the way it’s expected and in some mystery films you may not always like the reveal but that’s just how it is. Some things,like jokes, are all down to personal preference and in my case they don’t all work. That doesn’t mean to say this film isn’t brilliantly casted, funny and interesting. The story may have dragged a bit in the middle but the amazing last act alone would give this film 4 stars. I came out of this film with a big smile on my face, which with the amount of crap I’ve seen recently, is a welcome change and if it wasn’t for a couple of hitches this would have probably scored a lot higher

Written by Dawson Roberts

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Directed By- Shane Black

Produced By- Joel Silver

Written by- Shane Black, Anthony Bagarozzi