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The Gift

The Gift

Despite the title and this being the week of Christmas The Gift is not some lovely, warm Christmas movie. Instead The Gift is the directorial debut of actor Joel Edgerton, who also produces, writes and co-stars in this thriller.

Relocating from Chicago to Los Angeles married couple Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) hope to settle down and have a family. After running into an old classmate of Simon called Gordo (Joel Edgerton), the couple find that Gordo keeps appearing in their lives with small gifts that make Simon feel uncomfortable. Are Gordo’s intentions malicious?

Films like The Gift work better the less you know about it. Which makes it difficult to write a review on. What I will say is that the film is less like a horror as depicted in some of the trailers and more of a psychological thriller. My attention was constrantly gripped throughout the movie as I was trying to figure out what exactly Gordo was up to and try to piece together the clues on screen. While some expectations are subverted at it’s heart the film does not have the most original of ideas, but Edgerton’s direction is strong and creates a creepy atmosphere for the characters to live in.

While Joel Edgerton impresses as Gordo and pulls quadruple duties on this movie, his co-stars Rebecca Hall and Jason Batemen get more screen time as the couple who are the focus on Gordo’s attention. Hall once again is strong as the vulnerable Robyn and it’s interesting to see Bateman in a non-comedic role and one that he seems to revel in playing.

So if you are sick of lovey-dovey films this festive season and want something a bit more darker then try this psychological thriller.

Rating 3.5/5 – a smart directorial debut for Edgerton

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Iron Man 3

The summer blockbusters are here! And first out the gate is the third in the Iron Man Franchise. The first film was a surprise hit which propelled Robert Downey Jr to the A-list. The second one was ok but didn’t have the spark of the first film, feeling more like it was settling the scene forĀ  The Avengers. So how does this film stack up?

First the plot. Tony Stark is trying to recover from the events of the aforementioned Avengers film, staying up all night making new Iron Man suits (42 and counting) and neglecting live in girlfriend Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow). Not that they have time to worry about relationship drama when dealing with a new nemesis called The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) who isn’t afraid to take the fight directly to Stark himself.

This film sees the Iron Man franchise back on form. New director and co writer Shane Black is a smart fit for this film. Having worked with Robert Downey Jnr on Kiss Kiss Bang Bang he plays to the actor’s strengths in this film, making sure Tony Stark is full of the witty one liners that makes him such a joy to watch. This is probably the funniest of the Iron Man films to date.

As well as being hilarious with several laugh at loud moments, the film also delivers on an emotional level with Tony and Pepper’s relationship getting ample screen time. The couple are great together, bringing a real warmth to their scenes-probably helps that this is their third time playing these characters and so they fall back easily into their role.

There are also some jaw dropping action sequences that Black directs with great assurance considering this is only his second film. It’s hard to pick the best one but stand outs definitely include the attack on Stark’s home (as seen in the trailers) and a daring rescue to save the passengers on a falling airplane.

Of the supporting cast its great to Don Cheadle get more action this time as War Machine/Iron Patriot while Ben Kingsley is fun as The Mandarin and thankfully not overused in the role. Guy Pearce is suitably smug in his role as a business rival to Tony but ultimately isn’t that interesting. Rebecca Hall does well in what she’s given as Tony’s old flame Mya but unfortunately isn’t in it enough to show what she is really capable of.

There are rumours that this could be Robert Downey Jr’s last Iron Man film. I obviously can’t reveal how this film ends but if this ended the last time we see him put on the Iron Man suit he definitely bows out on a high.

Rating 4/5-Start the Summer Blockbuster season in style and prepare to let yourself laugh, gasp and be amazed.

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