The Gift – 7/10

What it lacks in Katie Holmes’ breasts, The Gift makes up for in tense thrills…

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The Gift contains a typically fine performance from Rebecca Hall but it is the cat and mouse game between Jason Bateman and Joel Edgerton that rightly takes first billing. Edgerton wrote and directed The Gift as well as starring and he gives an excellent performance in what is obviously a passion project for him. If you watch Edgerton’s confident turn in another 2015 success Black Mass compared to his more socially awkward character here, you will see the amount of range that he possesses and the flexibility of his acting skill.

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The Warriors – 7/10.

A Clockwork Orange meets Escape from New York.

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The Warriors is one of those great films from the 70’s and 80’s that showed how Hollywood had no idea how to portray inner city gangs. Director Walter Hill opts for gangs consisting of mostly effeminate men prancing around in preposterous costumes and behaving like they have walked off the set of a musical. This is about as menacing as it sounds. Having said that though the premise that minor gang The Warriors are wrongly believed to have assassinated the leader of all the gangs in NYC resulting in a man hunt is pretty good and it makes for an entertaining spectacle. It has a video game feel to it as The Warriors have to keep getting on different trains and encountering different gangs, each one dressed more bizarrely than the next.

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It is difficult for the actors to shine with such a campy script and all the characters can be pigeon holed into familiar character tropes such as ‘tough guy with a heart of gold’, ‘arrogant tough guy’ and ‘silent tough guy’ but the acting is relatively decent across the board.

I have to say that I was invested in The Warriors though. I wanted them to make it home and there are some genuinely good fight scenes along the way. A fun and entertaining flick.

The Captive – 7/10

Grim faces all round as Ryan Reynolds keeps his top on throughout…

 

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I don’t normally do a proper synopsis but I think it is important here for context. The Captive centres around the tragic kidnapping of a little girl who then becomes a kind of poster girl for other child abusers. Child abuse is probably the most emotive and controversial subject matter there is and The Captive does a great job in keeping its emotions in check without resorting to sensationalism (Prisoners) or just down right cynical exploitation (Hard Candy).

Subject matter aside, The Captive is a frustrating film. Running out of chronological order renders the first half an hour utterly baffling and doesn’t add a great deal to the story. A couple of well placed flash backs could have done the same job. The plot in itself is captivating but some of the character behaviours are laughably unrealistic. Ryan Reynolds has kind of gone off track since Green Lantern and if that was his Daredevil, it is safe to say The Captive will not be his Argo. That is not to say that he isn’t very strong though. This will surprise casual Reynolds fans but this isn’t actually a great departure from a lot of his other work. In between making terrible, career ruining choices about big projects, Reynolds has a few quirky abnormality’s on his CV and this is an interesting addition. Elsewhere Rosario Dawson is understated and very effective but Scott Speedman stinks the place out with a robotic turn as a cliché tough guy cop. A lot to like but The Captive feels like a missed opportunity.