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Posts Tagged ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’

Possibly the best month of movies since I started the Movie of the Month feature.  had they come out last year Birdman, Whiplash, Ex Machina and Kingsman would all have made my top ten. 

Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance): An actor once famous for playing a superhero plays an actor once famous for playing a superhero.  I fully expect Michael Keaton to win the best actor Oscar.  Probably director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s best film to date.michael keaton birdman

The Theory Of Everything: The story of Stephen Hawking and his wife Jane.  Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones are both excellent but the film is a little conventional and pedestrian.the theory of everything

Into the Woods: Adaptation of Stephen Sondheim musical where The Brothers Grimm characters trip over each other in the woods.  Surprisingly enjoyable for a musical but lacking the depth I was promised by fans of the stage version.  Emily Blunt and Anna Kendrick are great, Johnny Depp is terrible, Meryl Streep is okay but not worthy of an Oscar nomination.INTO THE WOODS

Taken 3: Plot spoiler (not really its in the trailer) Famke Janssen’s character is killed in the first act, she probably insisted on this so she wouldn’t have to make a fourth film.  Not as bad as has been reported but offering nothing new to the franchise or genre.take 3

American Sniper:  A return to form for director Clint Eastwood.  It has divided opinion being accused as being both flag waving propaganda and unpatriotic.  For me it tells the story of a troubled man  disturbed by his experiences told in such a way that it is open to interpretation.   The fact it is promoting such debate is a good thing.  With a box-office fast approaching $300million it is Eastwood’s highest-grossing film to date.American Sniper

Whiplash: A young drummer a prestigious music school joins the band a of a demanding teacher/conductor Fletcher.  One of the most intense films I have seen in years.  I expect J.K. Simmons to pick up the best supporting actor Oscar.Whiplash-5547.cr2

Wild: The true story of Cheryl Strayed, a young woman who decided to walk the thousand-mile Pacific Crest Trail.  We begin to understand  her motivation through flashbacks as the film unfolds.  Well constructed with great use of music and an excellent performance from Reese Witherspoon.Wild

Ex Machina: Is Alex Garland’s directorial debut an exploration of what it is to be human, a psychological thriller or just a sci-fi drama? It really doesn’t matter, it is just brilliant. Ex Machina

A Most Violent Year: A misleading title and trailer aside this is a classy crime thriller with fantastic performances from Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain.a most violent year

Kingsman: The Secret Service: Both a homage to and a parody of James Bond, it scores points for being fun, funny and clever.  It is extremely violent and there are aspects of the plot that will dived opinion.kingsman

The Gambler: Remake of the 1974 film of the same name written by James Toback and starring James Caan.  The sometimes unconvincing Mark Wahlberg is very good despite playing an unlikeable character.THE GAMBLER

Birdman, Whiplash, Ex Machina are all better films, the movie of the month is Kingsman simply for how much fun it is and how much I am looking forward to seeing it again. Kingsmankingsman posters

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The Avengers (1998) (the movie based on the 60’s British TV show not Disney/Marvels behemoth) should have been fantastic. It looked good, Ralph Fiennes was good casting as John Steed, Uma Thurman looked the part as Emma Peel, and Sean Connery seemed to be an inspired choice as the villain. Unfortunately it just fell flat in every conceivable way. So why does Kingsman: The Secret Service succeed in every way that The Avengers failed? I am not entirely sure.  Everything just works, even the things that shouldn’t.The Avengers

It is both fun and funny.  It is as much a homage to James Bond as a parody of it.  Most surprising is how violent it is and how it manages a level of levity throughout the brutality.  The centre of the story is Gary ‘Eggsy’ Unwin played by a virtually unknown actor Taron Egerton.  His chav to gentlemen spy transformation is nothing we haven’t seen before but works because of the charisma of the actor.  His mentor Harry Hart aka Galahad (Colin Firth) could have carried a film on his own, and at times does.  Perfectly played by Firth, he is the perfect blend of James Bond, Jason Bourne, with just a little bit of Ethan Hunt, George Smiley and Harry Palmer. Perfectly turned out his double breasted Savile Row suite, he makes his character in A Single Man look positively underdressed.Kingsman

Not afraid to name-check James Bond, or any other character in the genre, the film needs an over the top villain with an insane plan.  Harry even tells us a movie is “only as good as the villain”.  Samuel L. Jackson’s Valentine fits the bill perfectly as does his henchman woman Gazelle (Sofia Boutella).  Valentine’s plan goes beyond anything seen in Bond and Gazelle’s method of killing is more theatrical than Jaws or Oddjob.Sofia Boutella Kingsman

As perfect as the cast is, the real success of the film is in the script.  Director Matthew Vaughn is joined by his usual collaborator Jane Goldman, between them they have the magic ability to know how far over the line they can go and get away with it.  There are certainly moments that will divide opinion.  There are scenes that rival Hit-Girl’s language in Kick-Ass for controversy.  How does it get away with it?  Mainly because it is such good fun, possibly even more fun than Guardians of the Galaxy.

While The Avengers is best forgotten, Kingsman is the first must see film of the year.

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My top ten most anticipated movies for the coming year, along with the release date and the reason I am looking forward to them:

American Sniper – I am praying for a return to form from Clint Eastwood, and the trailer is excellent. 16th January

Whiplash – Great word of mouth.  16th January

Ex Machina – I am a fan of Alex Garland as a writer and am interested to see what he is like as a director.  Plus, the trailer looks interesting. 23rd January

A Most Violent Year – Great cast, interesting trailer. 23rd January

Kingsman –  The Secret Service: Another off centre action/comedy from Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman. 29th January

Blackhat – Michael Mann’s first film in 6 years.  20th February

Mad Max: Fury Road – I am such as fan of the original films I wasn’t keen on the idea of this but the trailer looks amazing. 15th May

Crimson Peak – I am keen to see anything from Guillermo del Toro. 16th October

Spectre – A new Bond film is always exciting, the success of Skyfall has upped that.  23rd October

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Can J.J. Abrams do for Star Wars what he did for Star Trek? 18th December

Also keen to see: John Wick, Jupiter Ascending, Child 44, Jurassic World, Furious 7, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Tomorrowland, Mission: Impossible 5 and The Hateful Eight (we probably won’t get it in the UK this year).

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As we pass the halfway point of the year one of my most anticipated films for a long time, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood has just opened and I will be watching it sometime this week. The end of the month sees The Avengers universe expand a little further with Guardians of the Galaxy, but what am I looking forward to for the rest of the year. Here are a few:

The Rover: Director: David Michôd: 15 August 2014 – Australia, 10 years after a global economic collapse, a man goes after the people who stole his only possession, his car. A sort of neorealist Mad Max.The Rover

A Most Wanted Man: Director: Anton Corbijn: 12 September 2014 – Political thriller based on a John le Carré’s novel. Sadly one of the last films to star the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.A Most Wanted Man

Kingsman: The Secret Service: Director: Matthew Vaughn: 17th October 2014 – Vaughn and long time collaborator Jane Goldman adapted comic book about a veteran secret agent and a young recruit.Kingsman The Secret Service

Gone Girl: Director David Fincher: 3rd October 2014 – A man reports his wife missing only to become the prime suspect. Adapted from a bestselling novel.Gone Girl

The Homesman: Director Tommy Lee Jones: 3rd October 2014 – A road/trail movie in the old west, Tommy Lee Jones stars as well as directs.The Homesman

Interstellar: Director Christopher Nolan: 7th November 2014 – Space travel and wormholes and things like that, we can’t be sure because its Christopher Nolan, we don’t care because its Christopher Nolan!Interstellar

The Hunger Games Mockingjay: Part 1: Director Francis Lawrence: 21st November 2014 – The first part of the final part of The Hunger Games, the revolution starts here.The Hunger Games Mockingjay

Unbroken: Director: Angelina Jolie: 26 December 2014 – True story of Louis Zamperini, Olympic runner and WWII POW.Unbroken

The Imitation Game: Director: Morten Tyldum: 14 November 2014 – The true and ultimately tragic story of Alan Turing, one of the men responsible for cracking the Enigma code during World War II.??????????????????

Snowpiercer: Director: Joon-ho Bong: Date TBA – The remnants of humanity fight a class war on , a train that travels around the globe. (on my list of anticipated films 18 months ago, I hope to see it this year).Snowpiercer

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