Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) is in charge of a joint British-American-Kenyan operation to use a drone to observe and facilitate the capture of a group of high profile terrorists. During the operation it becomes apparent that the these terrorists are planning a suicide bombing.Colonel Powell immediately recommends using the drone to institute a missile strike , which her commanding officer, Lieutenant General Frank Benson (Alan Rickman agrees with). However when a young girl (Aisha Takow) makes her way into the range of the strike the question becomes much more complex. Is the potential loss of the lives of many more important than the almost inevitable loss of the life of one? As not only the drone pilots (Aaron Paul and Phoebe Fox) but also various politicians question Powell’s decision moral, legal and political questions are raised and it becomes clear that whatever decision is made the consequences will be serious and far-reaching. Eye in the Sky is proper edge of your seat stuff, which will make you think about what you’d do in the same situation as well as the implications of the”gamification” of war. Mirren gives a great performance, as does Paul and Rickman works well as the world weary General. Takow makes us care about her character in a very short period of time and there’s also a great turn from Barkhad Abdi as a Kenyan operative who feels personally responsible for the little girl’s safety. I won’t spoil the end but I can say that I feel like the right decision was made. Recommended. 4/5
Yurusarezaru mono (Unforgiven) (2013)
It might be a case of baby brain but when I downloaded this to watch on the plane on my recent trip to Berlin, I had no idea it was the Japanese version. I suppose the Japanese writing on the cover and the actors not being Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman probably should have tipped me off but in my defence it was a really small picture on my iPad. I decided to watch it anyway but as I have never actually seen Unforgiven I won’t be comparing it to the original. In the years following the fall of the Shogun his Samurais have been forced to go into hiding. One such samurai is Jubee Kamata (Ken Watanabe), who lives a quiet life on a farm with his two children. When his former compatriot, Kitaoji (Jun Kunimura) approaches him suggesting that they go together to claim the bounty on two soldiers who have mutilated a prostitute Jubee initially refuses having promised his late wife he will never kill again. But when his crops fail he feels he has no choice despite his internal turmoil. The two are later joined by an Ainu man named, Goro (Yûya Yagira) who is a bit of a crazy hothead but he does show some nifty shortcuts. Unfortunately for Jubee, the sheriff of the town where the culprits are hiding out is Sanosuke Hotta (Yukiyoshi Ozawa) a former enemy who would love the opportunity for revenge. This leads to a brutal conflict out of which only one of them can possibly make it out alive. To be honest I found this pretty average. As much as I love Ken Watanabe it kind of plodded along and I found it hard to engage with any of the characters. It’s only been a few days since I watched it and I actually can’t remember all that much detail. I am guessing the original is probably a lot better so if you’re going to watch one then maybe go for that. 3/5
Ben Stiller plays Derek Zoolander a vacuous male supermodel who has spent his life perfecting his various (identical) signature looks. When he loses out on “model of the year” to his more bohemian nemesis, Hansel (Owen Wilson) Zoolander is devastated and decides it’s time for him to quit the modelling game forever. However fashion tsar, Mugatu (Will Ferrell) has other ideas. Mugatu is outraged that the Prime Minister of Malaysia has brought in new laws preventing child labour, which will bring his empire crashing to the ground. Under the guise of hiring Zoolander to be the face of his new campaign Mugatu plans to brainwash him to assassinate the Prime Minister and get things back to how they used to be. Unfortunately for Mugatu journalist, Matilda Jeffries (Christine Taylor) is on the case and comes to poor brainless Zoolander’s assistance. Unfortunately for Zoolander it seems the one person who might be able to help him and Matilda thwart Mugatu is Hansel! Can Zoolander get over his hatred for Hansel in time to save the day? On the surface Zoolander is a pretty ridiculous comedy but under the surface it’s a biting satire that challenges superficiality, the true costs of fashion and the concept of a society that triumphs external beauty over everything else. Stiller is hilarious as the almost braindead Zoolander, Wilson pretty much coined his annoying hipster trademark character on Hansel and Mugatu is definitely one of Ferell’s most amusing creations. If that wasn’t enough there are some spectacular cameos, my favourite being David Bowie running a pose-off. I do get the feeling the world Zoolander is set in could become really tedious and annoying if you spent too much time in it but at only 90 minutes it comes to an end just before the viewer’s patience does. A deserved comedy classic. 3.5/5
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)
Peter La Fleur (Vince Vaughan) runs a gym called Average Joes, which attracts a ragtag group of customers to whom he rarely charges any membership fees… which is probably about to go bankrupt. His biggest rival is White Goodman (Ben Stiller) the owner and founder of a chain of sleek, achievement-driven Globo Gyms. When White buys out Peter’s mortgage with the intention of leveling his gym to build a carpark, Peter and his customers decide to bank together and enter a dodgeball tournament. If they win they’ll be able to pay off the mortgage and keep the gym alive. Of course White doesn’t want this to happen so he decides to enter a super professional Globo Gym team and beat Peter at his own game. It seems like Average Joes has no chance but with the help of former Dodgeball star, Patches O’Houlihan (Rip Torn) as their coach and the bank lawyer looking after the mortgage negotiations (Christine Taylor) they might just have a chance. So Dodgeball is really predictable and really dumb but it’s also very funny in a very obvious, very crude way. Vince Vaughan only ever plays one character – the sort of fast talking, semi-loser with a big heart but he is really good at that so you can’t really blame him. If you’re looking to turn your brain off this is probably worth watching just for Patches’ ridiculous insults. 3/5
Dodgeball is one of my favorite comedies. It’s nothing special but the cast is great and most of the jokes hit. I always have a good time watching it.
It is a good laugh. It doesn’t try to be clever it and because of that the jokes are so much better.
I think Ben Stiller is a genius. I saw the first Zoolander and thought it was amusing in parts. Your review of ZII is the only positive review I’ve read. I don’t think anyone saw the satire like you. Now I may have to sit down and watch it, if anything, for Bowie’s cameo. Now, I was younger and vacuous (great word), and not much into critiquing films, and really got into Dodgeball. It just struck me funny especially the Russian female. And when they came out in S/M leather, I nearly wet myself. My favorite comedy, still, of Ben’s Tropic Thunder. It’s hysterical.
The review is actually for the first Zoolander. If not seen the second one. Not sure I want to. I LOVE Tropic Thunder. Never go full retard!
Hahahahaha. “No one gets my jellybeans!”
Ian said he can’t be friends with you if you only gave Zoolander 3.5/5. Sorry to break the news.
cant wait to see Eye in the sky. have little desire to see unforgiven and wasnt a fan of either Dodgeball or zoolander
I have to say…zoolander is one of my faves even though its so very silly.
Eye in the Sky looks so good.
I think you’d really enjoy it.
Whooo! Abbi watches a Japanese film! (although one I’ve not seen myself….) 😛 😀
And kind of by accident too. I actually haven’t seen many Japanese movies. I feel like I should improve that.
I was pretty impressed w/ Eye in the Sky too, Abbi. Kind of sad seeing Alan Rickman in his last film role 😦
I know. So sad he won’t be making anything new. He was such a favourite of mine.
I’m really glad Eye in the Sky found an audience. It’s a little independent film with an impressive cast.
Mr O and I both really enjoyed it. It’s such a thought provoking premise.
I saw the trailer a while back for Eye in the Sky and it looked like something that could totally be skipped. Now it seems that I should totally give it a look see haha.
Don’t ask – I enjoyed the heck out of Dodgeball, even though that is totally not usually my thing. Maybe I should check it out again sometime and see how it holds up.