Although their careers have went in very different paths, Sylvester… MoreAlthough their careers have went in very different paths, Sylvester Stallone and Robert DeNiro have been around roughly the same amount of time and have, on occasion, come together. In 1976, they were Best Actor nominees for two of their most successful roles in "Rocky" and "Taxi Driver" (both losing out to Peter Finch in "Network") and in 1997 they shared the screen for the first time in "Cop Land". Now they're at it again...
Henry 'Razor' Sharp (Stallone) and Billy 'The Kid' McDonnen (DeNiro) where once two towering rivals in the boxing ring. However, after one win each, Sharp promptly announced retirement leaving the public and McDonnen eager for a deciding match. 30 years down the line, they are both given another opportunity to settle their score once and for all.
Who would win in a fight between Rocky Balboa and Jake LaMotta? - you can almost hear the film being pitched by some fanboy fantasist as two of cinema's most iconic films and boxing characters are capitalised on. There seems to be a lack of decorum in it's concept and it only goes to show that money always does the talking in Hollywood.
Basically, what you see is what you get. It has an element of fun but really never extends to anything more as it leans heavily on the ridiculously cliched and self-indulgent end of things. In fairness, this probably did sound like a good idea, especially when the leads seem to be game for sending themselves up but really, it's all just mediocre tosh.
You'd have to be punch drunk to find anything more than a modicum of enjoyment and that essentially comes from the two stars' commitment and conviction. Stallone does his usual Sly-schtick and the kind of vehicle you expect from him these days. The same could be said for DeNiro but he does seem quite up for having a laugh and surprisingly delivers an entertaining performance. As for the support, Jon Bernthal does what what he can in a small underwritten role as DeNiro's son while Kevin Hart's promotor is only added for irritating comic relief. Alan Arkin brings a welcome light humour to the proceedings but it's certainly not up to his usual standard and Kim Basinger has little to do but stand around the periphery, sulking about her past history between the two boxers. That's about all that can be said as this certainly isn't a film that would require any form of an in-depth dissection. I've said enough already.
It's so much Grudge Match as Pudge Match. The two ageing stars struggle to move themselves around the ring let alone land a blow. There are some blows to be had, though, but they only connect with their fading reputations.
Richard Linklater is one of those directors that consistently delivers… MoreRichard Linklater is one of those directors that consistently delivers fresh and original material yet somehow remains a filmmaker with a lower profile. His projects certainly gain the respect they deserve but they never really go over and above that in terms of awards. He's always been innovative and has adopted some daring approaches to filmmaking with the likes of his free-form indie debut "Slacker", the expansive "Before Sunrise" trilogy, the philosophical "Waking Life" and it's rotoscope animated companion piece "A Scanner Darkly". Even his forthcoming "Boyhood" - a 12 year project following a boy's journey from 5 to 18 years old - is a feat that few, if any, directors have tackled. However, one of his most poignant and entertaining escapades happens to be the mosaic "Dazed and Confused". It was largely ignored upon it's release but has since gained a strong cult status. And for very good reason.
The year is 1976 and it's the last day of high school in a small Texan suburbia. Everyone's up for a party and in search of booze and drugs but first, the incoming freshmen must go through some embarrassing initiation rituals organised by the senior students, who take great pleasure in putting the youngsters in their places.
Much like his aforementioned and experimental approach to "Slacker", Linklater doesn't have a lot going on narratively. He's fully aware of this, however, and acts only as a mere vessel in allowing his actors the space to breathe and run free in their roles. That being said, there's still a complete focus here and the result is far more solid and entertaining than his debut. It's not often I'll praise a film for it's lack of narrative but in the case of "Dazed and Confused" it's the characterisation that leads the way and each and every one of the actors really shine; Wiley Wiggins is our young guide throughout this turbulent time for teenagers as he falls into a friendship with the senior students on his last day of freshman year and Linklater astutely captures a whole myriad of teenage angst and the carefree emotions of a disaffected youth.
Let's not forget that this was only Linklater's second film and it wasn't just him that was finding his way, but also the impressive cast that he put together. Largely unknown at the time of the film's release, many of the actors would go on to become part of the Hollywood firmament. We get well judged performances from all sorts of high school types; from Jason London and his jock pals Sasha Jenson and Cole Hauser to Rory Cochrane's stoner, Adam Goldberg's nerd and Ben Affleck, playing one of his most unlikeable characters, as the school bully. The most memorable from the entirely great ensemble, though, is a small but dynamic and scene stealing role for Matthew McConaughey as the older guy who refuses to grow up and move on.
Outwith the performances, Linklater also has a keen eye for capturing the 70's setting (in all it's flair and hair) and taps perfectly into the tone of the era. It's a nostalgic look back at daunting initiations, rebellion and the agonising awkwardness of adolescence and it's told with an affectionate wit and charm. I may not have went to an American high school or got involved in tanning some freshman ass with a pre-made baton but the energy and love for this poignant time really shines through and still operates at a level that will appeal to everyone who has any memory at all of their school experiences or peer pressure.
Sharing much in common with George Lucas' "American Graffiti" or Greg Mottola's more contemporary "Superbad", this is a funny and insightful coming-of-age contemplation. Linklater has delivered some wonderful film's over the years and I'm sure he'll continue to do so but, so far, this is his best film to date. It's absolutely superb.
Being a huge fan of Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Cormac McCarthy,… MoreBeing a huge fan of Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Cormac McCarthy, Ridley Scott was originally planning to adapt his controversial 1985 novel "Blood Meridian" before the project eventually fell through. Scott, however, was given another chance when McCarthy wrote his first ever original screenplay in the mould of "The Counselor". Circling it for a short time, Scott eventually took the reigns and drafted in a star studded cast which led it to be one of the most anticipated movies of 2013. When it finally reached the public-eye, though, it was met with such a vehement backlash that I actually steered clear of it... until now.
Deeply in love with his fianc√ (C)e Laura (Penelope Cruz), The Counselor (Michael Fassbender) aims to provide a high standard of living for her. To do so, he enters into a one-time deal with dangerous drug dealer Reiner (Javier Bardem), his sociopathic girlfriend Malkina (Cameron Diaz) and middle-man Westray (Brad Pitt). Despite several warnings about the severe consequences of dealing with the Mexican cartel, The Counselor foolishly decides to go ahead anyway.
"Inert", "directionless", "disjointed", "misjudged" - these are just a few of the adjectives that I came across when "The Counselor" was released to mass disappointment. As a result, I went into it with very heavy reservations. If truth be told, I was preparing to write a scathing review where I could really pick out the flaws and expose them for all their ludicrousness. Much to my surprise then, that after 20 mins I found myself with nothing to criticise and if anything, I started to find my feet in this elaborate thriller and found myself enjoying it more and more with every passing minute. It became apparent that this isn't a film that's "misjudged", this is a film that has received a very misjudged marketing campaign. It's not the fast paced, slick crime thriller that many were expecting but more of a deliberate and philosophical parable about the nature of greed and the rippling effect of immoral decisions.
A lot has been said about McCarthy's first ever screenplay and his unconventional method. Many have claimed it to be deliberately cryptic and indecipherable. Admittedly, at times, it can be but the real key to understanding the film is breaking through our preconceived ideas of how dialogue should be delivered. The answers are there, they just need that extra concentration and willingness to find them. Some lengthy monologues do keep the audience at a particular arms length and it can be difficult to break through their very dense and metaphoric meanings but I managed to play along and actually found the film to be richly rewarding.
It looks fantastic, with wonderful picturesque locations and even though the characters are lavish and colourful, this is still a very believable and foreboding criminal underworld. Scott shows a confident handling of the material and the acting ensemble all seem fully committed to McCarthy's abstract and idiosyncratic prose. I didn't get the impression that they felt strained or unsure of what they were involved in here and that's primarily what makes the film work. Each of their characters are convincing and they all deliver solid performances.
That being said, this is not a film that will appeal to everyone and it's entirely understandable why it hasn't been kindly received. Very little is explained; there's no backstory or linear conclusion and even Fassbender's Counselor is never revealed by name. In fact, those that were critical of the underwhelming epilogue of the Coen brothers' adaptation of McCarthy's "No Country For Old Men" in 2007 will likely be frustrated with "The Counselor" in it's entirety. The whole film operates on that suggestive level. It's a bold and daring move but one that I find respects the audiences ability to read into events and possibilities.
Having been disappointed in a lot of Ridley's Scott's recent films, I was expecting more of the same here. Far from it, though. This is a highly underrated neo-noir that's one of Scott's best efforts for some time and McCarthy constructs a transcendent, almost Shakespearean, tragedy. It only leaves me with hope that this won't be the last time he writes a screenplay - despite it's much maligned reception.
In dealing with the financial meltdown of an investment bank, J.C.… MoreIn dealing with the financial meltdown of an investment bank, J.C. Chandor's directorial debut "Margin Call" in 2011, was an impressively handled, fast paced and very dialogue driven film. It also had a who's who of familiar actors as they wheeled and dealed their way out of their crisis with a spot of verbal jousting. Now, in only his second feature, Chandor has left all that behind and delivers a film that couldn't be further from his debut. There's only one actor and you're lucky if you get a couple of lines of dialogue in the entire film.
In the Indian Ocean, a man (Robert Redford) wakes up on his yacht to find that a shipping container, that has been left adrift in the seas, has collided with him. It's ripped a hole in his hull and he's quickly taking in water. He manages to patch it up but a violent storm brings yet more problems and soon, time is running out for him.
As the film opens we are told that it is 1700 nautical miles from the Sumatra straits. That's about all we get in determining where our protagonist is. He's never actually named either - referred only as 'Our Man' in the end credits - so we don't know who he is or why he's there, other than some brief voiceover dialogue informing us that he's sorry for something. Again, we don't know what he's done or who he's apologising to - possibly his family. Either way, he's alone on his yacht and we don't know where he's heading to. That's about as much information as we are given and it doesn't get any clearer. It's this very ambiguity that sets the films tone; it doesn't concern itself with details or backstory or even much dialogue for that matter. This is a meditation on human resilience and determination. Anything else other than that leaves us just as alone as our nameless protagonist. Chandor's intention is to obviously keep things at a minimum and force us to look for the film's themes. Finding these themes, though, is just as elusive as our characters chances of survival. Maybe I missed the point, but all I could find here was the was he was going through some form of penance for his past misdeeds or that the story is an allegory for mortality. Other than that, I felt as lost as him and could fully relate to the film's appropriate title.
That being said, there's still much to admire here. Chandor's minimalist approach manages to balance the vast open space with a real sense of claustrophobia and Redford's paired down performance is absolutely captivating. He has such a comforting and recognisable presence that it's easy to adapt to his character and his isolation. It takes a great actor to be able to hold your attention when they are practically saying nothing and completely carrying a film on their own. Redford's work here is reminiscent of Tom Hanks' exemplary and Oscar nominated performance in "Cast Away" and it's hard to accept that he missed out on an nomination himself, when many expected him to feature. His performance is a very physical one and all the more impressive considering he's now at the tail-end of his 70's. It's a lonely and gruelling journey and despite the lack of dialogue, Redford's subtlety speaks volumes. It's almost as if we we can hear his internal dialogue and the conversation he's continually having with himself. There is much to recommend this film but if there's only one reason to see it, it would be for Redford.
Most of the ingredients are here for a potential modern classic. Chandor's direction is impressive, as is Redford's outstanding central performance. Alex Ebert also conducts a wonderfully ethereal music score that compliments the powerful cinematography.
However, as much as I enjoyed "All Is Lost" for these attributes, I struggled with it's relentlessness and couldn't really see the point of it all.
If he's not already there yet, there's no doubt that Alexander Payne… MoreIf he's not already there yet, there's no doubt that Alexander Payne is a director who is fast becoming a name that's synonymous with quality. I've yet to see his 1996 debut "Citizen Ruth" but from "Election" in 1999 to the "The Descendants" in 2012, Payne has delivered a consistency that few directors can match. With every film, he just gets better and better and "Nebraska" is no exception.
After receiving a letter from the lottery sweepstakes, elderly Montana resident Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) is convinced he's won $1 million and decides to travel to Nebraska to collect his prize. His son David (Will Forte) realises that his fathers growing senility has gotten the better of him but decides to accompany him on the journey to look after him. As they make several stops along the way, David learns more about his father's distant past and how it's shaped the person he is now.
After tackling the road-movie in "About Schmidt" and "Sideways" Payne successfully returns to that sub-genre. Like those aforementioned films he, once again, astutely focuses on the interaction between odd and eccentric individuals who are struggling to come to terms with how their life and relationships have worked out. The beauty of Payne's work is his palpable sense of realism and his consistent ability to capture believable character's in all their frailty and vulnerability and "Nebraska" is no different. In fact, it's arguably his finest work yet.
Working from a cleverly nuanced script by Bob Nelson, Payne's casting choices are what really stand out here. A lot has been said about the Oscar nominated performance of Bruce Dern and I can only add that the plaudits and superlatives this veteran actor has received are all very well deserved. Dern is simply marvellous as the cantankerous old-timer Woody, who's stubbornness and determination drives the narrative. That being said, as good as Dern is, he's not the only one on form here. As his patient and good-natured son, Will Forte delivers solid support and another veteran actor in Stacy Keach brings a reminder of his outstanding qualities and begs the question as to why his talents are not utilised more these days. Added this already fine line-up is the marvellous (and also Oscar nominated) June Squibb, as Woody's pugnacious and passionately pragmatic wife. With Jennifer Lawrence already gathering awards for her performance in "American Hustle" and Lupita N'yongo seemingly the viewers favourite for her performance in "12 Years A Slave", I'm very surprised at how little Squibb's work has been mentioned. I've made my mind up that this unsung actress deserves to go home with the coveted golden baldy. She really is that good.
Primarily, though, this a father/son relationship tale played against the backdrop of a satirical depiction of Americana and it's beautifully touched upon. For a film that has a seemingly sombre and melancholic appearance, it's actually a bittersweet and often hilarious examination of family dynamics, memories and the passing of time which is reflected wonderfully in Payne's decision to shoot in black & white. It's a very wise move and cinematographer Phedon Papamichael's desaturated look not only reflects ageing memories but also the character and mindset of Woody himself, with his outlook and opinion on life consisting of few grey areas.
Payne has crafted a very rich and nuanced character study here, that's not only one of his finest moments but contains some of the best work by everyone involved and is rightly regarded as one the years best films.
After bringing the warped and surreal works of Charlie Kaufman's… MoreAfter bringing the warped and surreal works of Charlie Kaufman's "Being John Malkovich" and "Adaptation" to the screen, director Spike Jonze carved himself a reputation for the off-beat. However, a misjudged adaptation of Maurice Sendak's classic children's story "Where The Wild Things Are" followed and I have to admit that doubts were raised about his abilities. I wondered how much of Jonze was in his earlier films or did he actually need Kaufman in order to construct something of substance? On the evidence of "Her", though, it's apparent that Jonze is the real deal and fully capable of crafting his own original work.
Spending most of his time writing love letters for others,
Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) is a very lonely man in the midst of a bitter divorce. In order to find some sort of emotional connection he purchases the world's first artificially intelligent operating system known as the OS1 and going by the name of Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). As they interact, Theodore and Samantha grow closer and closer to the point that they fall in love. However, both of them struggle with the lack of physical interaction and their feelings of elation turn to doubt and inner conflicts.
The first thing that strikes you about "Her" is the gorgeous production and set design by K.K. Barrett and Gene Serdena. Along with cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema they achieve their vision of a not-too-distant future by indulging in lush pastel colours and dated fashion that's reminiscent of the 80's. It's at once both stark yet beautiful and draws comparisons with the work of Stanley Kubrick and his clinical approach to "A Clockwork Orange" or, more so, "2001: A Space Odyssey" in it's reliance on computer operated systems and voice interaction. The now infamous HAL9000 from "2001" is not that far from Samantha and the comfort and correspondence that it provides it's human counterpart. Also like Kubrick's aforementioned Science fiction classic, Jonze's concept of the future concentrates on the abstract and metaphysical. As a result, it taps into the zeitgeist and becomes an important and astute commentary on a generation connected to the world but foolishly ignoring the ability to connect personally.
The growing intelligence of Samantha as an operating system also begs the philosophical question of Cartesian doubt and the relevance of free thought and emotion. As Samantha begins to explore her possibilities, Theodore and the other human characters are drifting towards an empty and soulless existence. This contrast allows Jonze to hint at the problems we can expect in our worrying obsession with technology.
On paper - or to the ear - the concept may sound ridiculous but on a visual and emotional level, Jonze has crafted a sublime piece of work here and it works primarily because of the irresistibly expressive voice talents of Scarlett Johansson and a superb anchoring performance by Joaquin Phoenix. His omission from the Oscar nominations this year is glaring and he can feel himself very unlucky to be so. He delivers the requisite shyness and vulnerability that brings Theodore's loneliness to the fore and it's also worth pointing out that he actually spends most of his time onscreen completely alone. For Jonze to fully realise his vision he needed an actor that could hold your attention and never allow the material to fall prey to absurdity and it's Phoenix's nuanced abilities that drive the heartfelt message to it's Brave-New-Home.
To quote Albert Einstein "I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots". We may not quite have reached that point yet but Jonze's social, Sci-Fi fable about our co-dependence, increasing disconnection and the technology that perpetuates it, is stark and thought provoking material. It's simply a wonderful piece of filmmaking and one of the very best of the year.
If you're aware of the work and tone of play-write Tracy Letts (who… MoreIf you're aware of the work and tone of play-write Tracy Letts (who also provides the screenplay here) then you'll pretty much get the gist of this one. He was responsible for two of William Friedkin's finest moments; the dark, psychological horror "Bug" and the intense and disturbing thriller "Killer Joe". Now, this doesn't quite explore the depravity of those aforementioned films but it's no less powerful in capturing a similar claustrophobic tension.
Beverly Weston (Sam Shepard) is a hard-drinking poet who has been living with his cancer stricken wife Violet (Meryl Streep) and her addiction to prescription pills and venomous outbursts for too long. When he suddenly disappears, Violet calls upon their children Barbara (Julia Roberts), Karen (Juliette Lewis) and Ivy (Julianne Nicholson) to return home and offer some moral support. The problem is, there are no morals amongst this fractured family as past issues rear their ugly heads.
Following on from the likes of "American Hustle" and "12 Years A Slave" this is another of the years great ensembles. If the Academy Awards deemed it fit (and one day I hope they do) to hand out an award for the efforts of the whole cast then this could consider itself a serious contender. With ensembles of this kind, sometimes a story can struggle to bring depth to a particular one or two but in this case, it felt like every character had their purpose and few, if any, were left unturned. Streep heads the onslaught with as much gusto and grandstanding as she's ever done and acts as the catalyst to the revelations of the inner turmoil amongst her family members. She says what she wants, when she wants and refuses to yield to anyone around her - despite her own serious and damaging shortcomings. Roberts, her eldest daughter, doesn't fall too far from the apple tree though, and gives as good as she gets. Although unlikely to win the Oscar with such strong competition around them, both have been nominated and it's understandable why they have been. It's not just these two on show, though. There is excellent support around them; Chris Cooper is a real standout, as the uncle with a conscience, as is the oft missed Juliette Lewis as the dippy younger sibling and touching performances from Benedict Cumberbatch and Julianne Nicholson as affectionate cousins. The only one that seemed out of place was Ewan McGregor as Roberts' estranged husband. He wasn't bad, but he struggled to get a handle on a decent American accent and it made him stand out from the crowd ever so slightly. However, the family dynamics are still plain to see and the uncomfortable interactions are played out with such fraught tension - including a 25 minute, vitriolic, dinner scene that's one of the finest of the year.
What with the intense acting on show and the characterisation and attention given to each of them, it can often be overlooked how sharp and blackly funny the dialogue is and how intricate Letts' writing can be. It's not only masterfully acted but masterfully written as well. Letts' Pulitzer-Prize winning play has many layers and even though it sometimes comes across as slightly uneven due to director John Wells not being the most experienced in peeling those layers back, the actors certainly don't miss their chance and sink their teeth, firmly, into them.
There may be an overly pessimistic and downbeat tone to this dysfunctional family affair but it's containment of black humour manages to balance the venom and spite that can so often be found in family feuds and makes for hugely enjoyable theatrics.
Although retirement may possibly be on the horizon for one of… MoreAlthough retirement may possibly be on the horizon for one of America's finest directors, at age 71, Martin Scorsese certainly doesn't look like he's slowing down. If anything, he's as racy as he's ever been and shows as much energy as someone half his age. "The Wolf Of Wall Street" may not be his most original approach to filmmaking. We've seen all this before as it strongly resembles the structure and downfall of Henry Hill in "Goodfellas". It does feel a little like he's repeating himself here but it's still entirely suitable for the story he's relating. I can't see how else he would have done it. If he'd played it more straight, it probably wouldn't have worked. He had to be outrageous and for that, it's most certainly amongst his funniest outings.
Based in the memoirs of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), a Long Island penny stockbroker who served 36 months in prison for defrauding investors in a massive 1990s securities scam that involved widespread corruption on Wall Street and in the corporate banking world,
On the surface of Scorsese's latest tale of amorality it can often look like he's glorifying the capitalist system and the enjoyment that wealth can bring but, in actual fact, this is less of a glorification and more of an indictment on American wolfishness or rapacity and the ruthlessness therein. He exposes corporate business in all of it's avarice but never has such covetousness or amorality been so thoroughly enjoyable. This is thanks, in large, to Scorsese's approach to the absurdity of it all and the commitment from all involved. What's most apparent is it's kinetic energy and the superb performances across the board. The ball really starts to roll with the energetic introduction of Matthew McConaughey. When he appears - as experienced stockbroker Mark Hanna - and gives a young, wet-behind-the-ears Belfort a lesson on how to succeed, he's the catalyst for the mayhem that ensues. McConaughey's role is short but sets the hilarious tone of the film wonderfully. From there, it's all about Belfort taking his lesson and running with it. And run he does. This is one of DiCaprio's best and bravest performances. He delivers a virile and dynamic show that actually demands him to be very physical. Not just dramatically but comedically as well, and he handles both angles with aplomb. If truth be told, DiCaprio has a funny bone that I never realised he possessed. With his running commentary on the events that took place, he breaks the fourth wall to add a more personal and involving touch and makes the audience complicit in all of his dodgy dealings and shenanigans.
As it's constructed in a non-linear approach, our first introduction to Belfort's debauchery (when he's already successful) sees him, literally, tossing dwarves at a dartboard to indulge his hedonistic ways before we then see him snorting cocaine from a prostitutes arse. And that's just the beginning... What's follows is one of the most raunchy and outrageous films that Scorsese and DiCaprio have ever been involved in. When things are in full swing they're positively rampant; every other minute we are exposed to naked women, orgies, public masturbation and enough drug taking to kill a small horse. By now, most people will have heard about the Quaaludes overdose scene which is absolutely hilarious and DiCaprio nails the histrionics as if he were a comic genius. He's not the only one on form here, though, he's aided immeasurably by Jonah Hill. Hill has already proven that he has great comic timing but, as he did in 2010's "Moneyball", he shows his solid acting chops again. The film benefits greatly from his presence and genuinely earns it's laughs. Nothing feels forced and it's great to see Scorsese handle so many hilarious scenes with the skill that he does. Granted, he's tackled (dark) comedies before in "The King Of Comedy" and "After Hours", but this is a very different beast altogether.
The characters are certainly on the wrong end of the moral scale and teeter on the brink of losing your affection but with Scorsese's deft handling of the tonal shifts he keeps the saga of their rambunctious and disorderly behaviour highly entertaining and holds your attention throughout it's lengthy (but not overlong) three hour duration.
Scorsese and DiCaprio push new limits here with their tenacity and extravagance and the result could quite happy rest with the moniker... Raging Balls.
Before he became a director, Ron Howard was originally known for his… MoreBefore he became a director, Ron Howard was originally known for his acting as Richie Cunningham from ‚Happy Days‚? and that character seems to have plagued his career since. Howard can certainly resemble the character‚(TM)s name in some ways; He makes production companies ‚~rich‚(TM) and he most certainly delivers ‚~ham‚(TM) but he lacks the ‚~cunning‚(TM) to be the truly great director that he perceives himself to be. Please excuse the very poor puns but if Howard can get away with as many clich√ (C)s as he does, then I deem myself the right to use as many bad puns as I want. ‚Rush‚? is further proof of Howard‚(TM)s over-praised talents and no amount of money or positive word-of-mouth will change that.
The real-life story of British playboy James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and pragmatic Austrian Niki Lauda (Daniel Br√ 1/4hl) who develop a bit of a rivalry while racing in their younger years in Formula 3. As both of them grow in stature and skill, though, they soon make it to the top of the sport and find themselves in fierce competition with one another for the coveted Formula 1 Championship.
So, Hollywood hack Ron Howard is up to his old tricks again. I‚(TM)d heard so many good things about this film beforehand and upon it‚(TM)s opening it seemed like they were all true; there was a good feel for the 70‚≤s setting; there was an interesting dynamic between the characters; there was the anticipation of these characters going head-to-head in a historical sporting rivalry; the racing scenes were even shaping up as the film‚(TM)s momentum grew and‚¶ then‚¶ well‚¶ Howard couldn‚(TM)t help himself. He pulled out his dog-eared, almanac of Hollywood clich√ (C)s and finger-licked his way through the pages to tick all possible boxes. Dramatic licence was cranked into 7th gear and every moment that could have melodrama, was indeed, very melodramatic. Subtlety went out the window quicker than a discarded cigarette butt; the schmaltzy music was used at every possible turn and the film became more manipulative by every shifting gear. There was no resistance to include each sports flick clich√ (C) in the book: the watching family and friends at home; the growing respect between the rivals before the big event ‚" which in this case, results in a ridiculous salute ‚" and, of course, the obligatory and overly-descriptive sports commentary that no film of this genre can do without.
You have to feel a bit sorry for the actors, though. They are actually quite good; Hemsworth brings the requisite cocksure arrogance to James Hunt and Daniel Br√ 1/4hl brings the dramatic weight and focused determination to Niki Lauda. However, even their performances can‚(TM)t quite overshadow the ridiculously tacked on dialogue. Of which, I‚(TM)m quite surprised about. Screenwriter Peter Morgan is normally quite reliable but here, his material is in the hands of an unoriginal and very generic director. When will people finally come to the realisation that Ron Howard is a buffoon. He epitomises everything that‚(TM)s bad about Hollywood and only serves the high powered executives who‚(TM)s interest is solely in commercial gain.
Doing very well with the box-office and viewers alike, I was lulled into a false sense of security and expectation with this. Considering the acclamations I had heard, I was surprised to see it omitted from this years Oscar nominations (as many others seemed to be) but I have to say, the Academy got it spot on here. This film was simply and categorically abysmal and it‚(TM)s laughable to even consider it amongst the years best. Quite frankly, this it‚(TM)s one of the most colour-by-numbers and weakest of 2013.
‚Rush‚, you say? After two hours, I was in a rush for this stinker to pull into a pit-stop and get written off. The skid marks in my underwear carry more weight and interest than any you‚(TM)ll see in this film.