Melissa McCarthy and director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat) team up again for this action packed comedy set in the world of international spies. But can they recreate the winning comedy of their earlier work?
Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is a desk bound CIA anyalist that communicates with field agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law) on his missions. When they learn that villain Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne) has a nuclear device she plans to sell and she knows all the identity of the CIA field agents Susan volunteers to go undercover and track Rayona.
I like Melissa McCarthy and I’ve enjoyed her films with director Paul Feig and once again they’ve both made me laugh while watching Spy. Susan is more of a softer character than we normally see McCarthy play in movies, and it’s fun to see her play a different kind of role although she still knows how to shout obscenities at people as we witness later in the movie. The film looks like it was fun to make and the supporting characters seem to be having a ball. Jude Law is amusing sending up the James Bond esuqe agent Bradley Fine, while Jason Statham has a laugh at playing an arrogant and incompetent fellow CIA spy. Byrne is also a giggle as a vain villian and I loved seeing British comic Miranda Hart in a big Hollywood movie. There are also some good action sequences which manage to be funny and exciting.
However the film is also too long at 2 hours. What could have been a much tighter, funnier film has too much padding that could easily have been removed without any cost to the film’s enjoyment. There also wasn’t enough of Alison Janney’s CIA boss while the character of Aldo (Peter Serafinowicz) was also a laughter free cliché.
Rating 3/5 – funny and likeable but also way too long
I’ve been meaning to write this review up for a while but it’s been a bit of a busy month, so I’ve been a bit slow with updating the reviews section.
Side Effects is Steven Soderbergh’s last film. The story follows Emily (Rooney Mara) a young woman dealing with her husband Martin (Channing Tatum) recently being released from prison for insider trading. Although she is happy he is released she is suffering from depression and unable to cope, so she seeks help from a psychiatrist Jonathan (Jude Law). After consulting with Emily’s former doctor (Catherine Zeta-Jones) Emily is prescribed a new drug Ablixa. Unfortunately Emily experiences side effects from the drugs which have far-reaching consequences for everyone involved.
This is one of those films that are difficult to review without giving away major spoilers. Luckily if you don’t go looking too much for them you should be able to go into Side Effects unaware of the major plot twist and turns. If you do avoid reading any spoilers than Side Effects should be able to enjoy the film as an intelligent medical-drama-thriller. Side Effects also gives us four great performances from its main players. It’s good to see Jude Law proving himself in another strong role after Anna Karenina, it reminds you why he was hyped up all those years ago.
The story is gripping as you follow Emily in her mental descent and when the story shifts to Jonathan’s perspective the story starts to reveal itself even more. The film raises lots of questions about responsibility and blame while questioning the motives to wanting and prescribing certain drugs. There are some good plot twists in the story which don’t undermine the action that has gone before it. In fact it makes you question what you have seen earlier. If this is going to be Soderbergh’s last film at least he leaves us with a film to saviour rather than to dispair.
Rating 4/5-gripping and tense, Soderbergh departs from the film world with an intelligent thriller that boasts an excellent cast and an intense plot. Au revoir Soderbergh!
All the world’s a stage in Joe Wright’s big screen version of Anna Karenina-literally. Most of the action is set in and around a theatre. Scenes transform from bedrooms, to ballrooms to train stations and horse races as Russia is confined to a stage for us to view Anna’s story. Occasionally we enter the outside world with Levin’s farm or the fields where lovers Anna and Vronsky meet.
Anna is married to the respectable but cold Alexei (Jude Law) but on a visit to meet her brother (Matthew Macfaddyn) she meets Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and embark on an affair that will have tragic consequences.
Anna Karenina is visually stunning. The costumes are amazing especially Knightley’s dresses and ball gowns. But it’s not simply a matter of style over content. Far from distracting the visual aspect helps keep the audience engaged, especially as the film is two hours long. The setting adds to the theme that Anna’s world is like a stage, she is there to be scrutinised by society and her affair is like a form of theatre to be whispered about by its audience. There is a sense that all eyes are on her, judging her but unable to stop from looking at her as she falls further into her own form of self-destruction.
This is Joe Wright’s fourth film and it does share similarities to his earlier films. There is a ballroom scene between Vronsky and Anna where they suddenly become the only two people in the room which is similar to a scene in his Pride and Prejudice. The film also appears similar, at least in the beginning, to Moulin Rouge with its flash design and costumes but where Moulin Rouge moves along at breath neck pace with songs about all you need is love, Anna Karenina looks at the price of love and whether the all consuming desire is worth it.
There is good performances from all the cast. Kiera Knightley holds her own as the passionate, longing Anna and Aaron Taylor-Johnson is a strong Count Vronsky, the younger man who pursues Anna and then has to deal with the consequences of their affair. The best of them is Jude Law who plays Anna’s long suffering husband Alexei. He is a much more sympathetic character then Anna; it’s easy to emphasis with his suffering of trying to deal with a wife that everyone is talking about and who admits to his face that she does not love him.
It’s not easy to decide whether Anna is deserving of our sympathy. Of course it’s not right how society treats Anna for her affair (especially in comparison to her cheating brother) but it’s hard to root for a character that destroys everything because of the passionate love she feels for Verosky. Despite this she is a compelling character to watch even if she’s not always likeable.
As the curtain falls on Anna Karenina it’s will be the theatre setting, costumes and Jude Law which stands out in the audience minds