It’s my 200th Film Friday, which means I have watched and reviewed 800 movies on this blog… and people ask me what I do with my spare time! If you want to read some more reviews, you’ll find there all here!
Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) is an insomniac who works at a Home Depot type store where he is well loved by his colleagues, especially Ralphie (Johnny Skourtis), who he is training for a security guard exam. When Robert can’t sleep he hangs out in a late night diner where he sometimes chats to Teri (Chloe Grace Moretz), a young streetwalker. One night while he and Teri are walking, she is shepherded into a car by some dodgy looking Russian chaps after which she turns up in hospital having been badly beaten. Robert feels somewhat responsible for her and goes to see her pimp, Slavi (David Meunier) to try and sort things out. It doesn’t quite go according to plan and Robert taps into some very special skills he has, wiping Slavi and his associates off the face of the earth. This does not go down well at all with Vladimir Pushkin (Vladimir Kulich), a major player in the Russian mafia who sends his enforcer, Teddy (Marton Csokas) to track Robert down and dispose of him. Now Robert and Teddy will go head to head in a game of cat and mouse where only one player can win out. I’ll come straight out and say that this film did not work for me. The trailer made it look really exciting and while there is some impressive action it drags on and on. On top of this parts of it are completely implausible. I get that Robert has a background that has given him some serious skills but he’s bordering on being a superhero, which seems like a stretch for a middle-aged man. It doesn’t help that Csokas has decided to play Teddy like a cartoon character and that parts of the film have been shot like a graphic novel. The biggest problem is just that the storytelling just isn’t good enough and no amount of stylised violence can make up for that. Utterly forgettable. 1.5/5
Rosamund Pike and David Tennant play Abi and Doug, a couple on the brink of divorce who decide to put on a brave face in order to take their three children to Scotland for Doug’s father, Gordy’s (Billy Connolly) seventieth birthday party. As the couple continues to argue with each other and Doug’s brother, Gavin (Ben Miller), Gordy, who is terminally ill, decides to take the three kids down to the beach. While playing with his grandchildren, Gordy passes away and the children decide to dispose of his body according to his last wishes with interesting consequences for the whole family. This is a really, really odd film. I think it’s supposed to be a comedy but the way Abi and Doug treat each other is so horrible that there is nothing enjoyable about watching them and while Connolly and the young actors who play the children are all brilliant the whole thing just doesn’t hang together. I get that it was all about focusing on the things that matter and how lies, even told with the best intentions, can tear a family apart but it’s tonally all over the place. The best part was Gavin’s wife’s YouTube supermarket meltdown but none of it was enough to save an ultimately disappointing film that probably isn’t appropriate for family viewing. 1/5
When Kainan’s (Jim Caviezel) spaceship crashes, bringing with it a beast called the Morwen, he finds himself on earth in 790 during the reign of the Vikings. The Viking King, Hrothgar (John Hurt) and his potential successor/future son-in-law, Wulfric (Jack Huston) are none too thrilled with the arrival of this outlander and immediately imprison him despite his protests that the Morwen, which glows in the dark, is basically going to get them. Eventually he proves his skills as a bear hunter, the Morwen is seen and they decide to work together to trap it. But the Morwen isn’t going to go down without a fight and it’s got a pretty good reason to hate Kainan. That’s about all I could gather from this pretty much a B-movie since it struggled to hold my attention. I mean alien meets Vikings meets glow in the dark monster all sounds like a pretty fun idea but Caviezel isn’t really charismatic enough to carry off a whole film and it plods along without ever reaching its potential. On the plus side the effects aren’t too bad and Sophia Myles is pretty good as Freya, the king’s feisty daughter. Watchable for a Sunday afternoon kind of movie. 2/5
The residents of the top floor of a London tower block that is about to be demolished must stand together when they discover that there’s a sniper picking them off one by one. Part horror, party mystery this British thriller sees office worker Becky (Sheridan Smith), drug dealer Kurtis (Jack O’Connell), alcoholic Paul (Russell Tovey), older couple Violet (Jill Baker) and Neville (Ralph Brown) and their neighbours attempt to stay alive long enough to figure out who is behind what seems like senseless killings. I quite liked the idea behind this one and it was a fairly good watch, not completely ruined by some serious overacting and a frankly ridiculous reveal at the end. I can imagine this was made on a shoestring since it’s pretty much a single set and there are very few effects required which don’t take away from the story. Unsurprisingly Noel Clarke turns up because he can’t bear to see a British film made without him but it’s Jack O’Connell who steals pretty much every scene he’s in. 2.5/5