The Zero Theorem – 7/10

Bald man grapples with dystopia whilst staring at various women’s breasts.

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Anyone who has seen any of Terry Gilliams’ previous work (Twelve Monkeys, Brazil, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus(!) etc) will know that he is a bit of an oddball. I have always felt if he was a bit more b̶o̶r̶i̶n̶g̶ serious like Terrence Malick say, he would be a lot more appreciated in high brow circles but instead he infuses his lofty ambitions with humour and colour.

The dystopia featured in The Zero Theorem obviously owes a debt to 1984 but to be fair it is almost impossible not to and he does bring his own visual style to the table. I quite like main player Christoph Waltz (although he has never got close to equalling his performance in Inglorious Basterds). Waltz grows into the role but Matt Damon steals every scene he is in. If you are into deep and meaningful symbolic stuff and you like Gilliam’s previous work then you should definitely give this a shot. Stick with it too, the last half an hour is much better than the opening.

Equilibrium – 8/10

Patrick Bateman becomes Winston Smith in Dystopia.

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Equilibrium has been dismissed as ‘Matrix with guns’ pretty much since its release which is very unfair. Whilst there are undeniable similarities (primarily the colours, never has a film utilized so many different shades of grey), Equilibrium is in many ways more intelligent than The Matrix.

Whilst there is absolutely no subtlety here (the drug people take to stop them feeling is called ‘Prozium’, not too difficult to work out this a dig at Prozac and and Valium) the message is no less important. Obviously the ghost of George Orwell looms large over everything, not just the dystopia of 1984 but also the privileged hypocrisy of Animal Farm.

Christian Bale was on a golden run around the time this film was made (American Psycho, The Machinist, Batman Begins, The Prestige etc) and he is once again brilliant here. He can convey more with his eyes than Kit Harrington has throughout the entire run of Game of Thrones. Speaking of GOT, Sean Bean **SPOILERS** meets his demise very early on even for his standards and the film does suffer slightly for this. Emily Watson is also underused as she smoulders when on screen and Taye Diggs is so crap as Bale’s sidekick that he threatens to derail the whole movie. I’m surprised this never became a cult classic as I loved it on release. It would make a brilliant tv series…

Pacific Rim – 6.5/10.

IMDB Plot – As a war between humankind and monstrous sea creatures wages on, a former pilot and a trainee are paired up to drive a seemingly obsolete special weapon in a desperate effort to save the world from the apocalypse.
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The problem with Pacific Rim is that, very much like Avatar, the jaw dropping special effects don’t hide or make up for the normal action movie clichés or the lazy, stereotypical characters (‘mad’ scientist x2, reluctant hero brought back for one last mission, po faced military leader). There isn’t one memorable character in this entire film, nobody stands out acting wise.

The much lauded Idris Elba is totally unbelievable and to be honest a bit rubbish as the fearless leader (complete with motivational speech obviously). Cheesy dialogue, predictable plot twists and an anti climatic ending all make for a massively disappointing movie because it has to be said the special effects are utterly amazing. The Transformers movies look like an embarrassment next to this. Missed opportunity but worth a watch just for how wonderful it looks.

Looper – 8/10

Bruce Willis over and over again but don’t worry, it’s not another Die Hard

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I could never give an accurate synopsis for a film so complicated without my head exploding so here is IMDB: ‘In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun awaits. Someone like Joe, who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by transporting back Joe’s future self.’

Joseph Gordon Levitt plays the lead role and while this isn’t a stretch for him, he plays it very well. Same story for Bruce Willis. He could play this role standing on his head but he brings necessary star power to the film. Emily Blunt gives the stand out performance, showcasing something different to what we have seen from her before. I saw this described as the new matrix, for me that is premature but there is still loads to enjoy in this flick.

The ending ties the film together brilliantly, so much so that I was thinking 7/10 until the last five minutes. Looper feels like a film that would definitely stand up to and even benefit from repeated viewings.