Rob Watches Movies

Reviews of every film I watch. The Good, The Bad and The Mothman Prophecies.

Tag: Jennifer Lawrence

Passengers – 5.5/10

‘If you live an ordinary life, all you’ll have are ordinary stories…’

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X-Men: Apocalypse – 6.5/10

‘You can fire your arrows from the Tower of Babel, but you can never strike god…’

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay (Part 2) – 6.5/10

‘Oh, my dear Miss Everdeen. I thought we’d agreed never to lie to each other.’

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Room – 8.5/10

Take a fucking bow Brie Larson…

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Hollywood is blessed right now with two spectacular actresses in Elizabeth Olsen and Jennifer Lawrence. Brie Larson impressed in The Spectacular Now, dazzled in Short Term 12 and with Room she has taken acting to a level that even Olsen and Lawrence are yet to reach. Before you accuse me of hyperbole, Larson has yet to prove she can carry a franchise or show the sheer range that Jennifer Lawrence has or the ability to star in a blockbuster like Olsen but in terms of a singular performance, Brie Larson in Room is right up there with any dramatic turn from anyone. She really is that fucking good.

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Short Term 12 – 8.5/10

All the emotion of Perks of Being a Wallflower or Silver Linings Playbook but without the glamour…

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Short Term 12 feels like one of those films where everything has come together perfectly to make a movie as good as the sum of its parts. A strong up and coming cast featuring Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr. (Newsroom) and Rami Malek (Mr. Robot) are at the centre of one of the most personal films in recent memory.

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Left to right: Malek, Dever and Gallagher Jr.

When Kaitlyn Dever’s troubled teen Jayden arrives at a children’s home she turns Brie Larson’s care worker Grace’s world upside down (to use film parlance for a second). Whilst Dever is very capable for such a young actress this is absolutely Larson’s film. In a role so captivating it brings to mind Ryan Goslings breakout role in Half Nelson or even Natalie Portman in Black Swan, Brie Larson channels a young Jennifer Lawrence and builds on an earlier strong performance in The Spectacular Now. Larson is in turn matriarchal and vulnerable and it is surprising that the Academy didn’t come knocking for such a believable and heart breaking performance.

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Having worked in care myself I know how frustrating it is when bureaucracy and greed make it harder to help those in need and Larson perfectly encapsulates that frustration. The films realism is no surprise as rookie director Destin Daniel Cretton worked in a home for at risk teenagers and he captures the highs and lows perfectly, particularly the ridiculous notion that doctors and therapists who may see a patient once a month, are in a better position to make life changing decisions, than those who spend 12 hours a day in their company.

In summary Short Term 12 is beautifully written, has a strong supporting cast and an Oscar worthy turn in the lead role from Brie Larson. One of the best films I have seen this year.

Mockingjay Part 1 – 5.5/10

The modern phenomena in cinema for a film franchise to release a film every year has predictably led to some uninspiring sequels that exist only to make money and move the story along. Attack of the Clones, The Matrix Reloaded, a bunch of the Avengers films… they serve only as chapters in a longer story. It is a uninspired and cynical ploy and films such as The Empire Strikes Back, The Two Towers and even Die Hard 2 are examples that show that the middle instalment in a trilogy needn’t just be filler.

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Unfortunately Mockingjay Part 1 is definitely a sequel to forget. Without the plot device of the actual games themselves you are left with a weak dystopian teen drama. Even Jennifer Lawrence seems off her game and while it is nice to enjoy Phillip Seymour Hoffman one last time this film is hardly a fitting farewell for such a talented actor. To be honest nobody really comes out of this particularly well. Even new addition Julianne Moore fails to capture the imposing character from the source material.

Mockingjay part 1 is a film I can never imagine watching again and appears to be the start of what was a promising franchise fizzling out rather ending with a bang.

X-Men: Days of Future Past – 8/10

Cast reunion for every actor to have ever played an x man…

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American Hustle – 8/10

Two con artists are caught by the FBI and coerced into helping forge an investigation into scams involving politicians, the mob and some awful haircuts.

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Occasionally a film will come along where the acting is so strong the story doesn’t really matter. The Big Lebowski is one such film or the ultimate example would be Glengarry Glen Ross. American Hustle is almost there as well.

The main four players Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper and especially Jennifer Lawrence smoulder and spit against each other brilliantly. There are so many layers to the relationship between characters and the chemistry between them that it keeps your head spinning throughout. A wonderfully eclectic supporting cast of Jeremy Renner, Louis CK, an ever menacing Robert De Niro, and Shea Whigham among others make every scene pop off the screen with each cast member at the top of their game.

The story is what lets American Hustle down though, it starts off intricate and interesting but it definitely runs out of steam by the end, with the ending feeling a bit rushed and deflating. There are better films in this years Oscar pool but if someone from American Hustle doesn’t take home a statue for acting they have been robbed. They should make up an award for best hairpiece just for Christian Bale. It really is a sight to behold.

American Hustle is not as good as director David O. Russell’s last two films (Silver Linings Playbook, The Fighter) but it is still a very good piece of work.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – 8/10

Following on from *spoilers* victory in the last Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta have to take a tour of the districts to further cement their love in the eyes of President Snow.

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Sometimes an actor fits a role so perfectly that it is impossible to think of that character in any other way. Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones is one. Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen is another. She has taken a complex and confused character from the books and brought her to life perfectly and this is the base of Catching Fire. Elsewhere, Phillip Seymour Hoffman provides much needed support amongst a sea of beautiful, young looking but also quite dull male supports.

Catching Fire is definitely darker than The Hunger Games which will please a lot of detractors and the ending is show stopping, leaving you desperate for the third film. It still doesn’t quite capture the bleakness and epic majesty of the books but overall director Francis Lawrence has done a grand job.

Silver Linings Playbook – 10/10.

Pat Solitano leaves a mental institution and attempts to integrate himself back into normal society.

JENNIFER LAWRENCE and BRADLEY COOPER star in SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

Bradley Cooper plays the protagonist  and he smashes it out of the fucking park. In any other year he whould be nailed on for a best actor Oscar, Daniel Day-Lewis will win it of course.
Jennifer Lawrence cements her reputation as the best actress working in Hollywood right now with her crushingly beautiful performance as the damaged Tiffany. In support Robert De Niro gives his best performance in years and has some of the funniest lines.
Silver Linings Playbook has many laugh out loud moments but is also heartbreaking and up lifting, touching on mental health, alienation, longing, love, family, how sport and dance can bring people together and people’s attitude to mental illness (particularly the authorities). As someone who worked in mental health for a while I felt that the issues faced by Bradley Cooper and his reaction to them were portrayed perfectly. No film has touched me on so many levels as Silver Linings Playbook has for years. It also has the most iconic dance sequence since Pulp Fiction and a great soundtrack.
Director David O. Russell has come a long way since Three Kings and it is going to be nigh on impossible for him to follow the huge success of The Fighter and now this. If you only watch one the films nominated for Best Picture at this years Oscars make it this one.

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