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The Hateful Eight

The Hateful Eight Picture

Quentin Tarantino is back and has returned with another western. This time however the movie is more of a mystery. But will The Hateful Eight impress me as much as his other works?

Set some time after the civil war eight strangers are trapped together at a stagecoach stopover. But what are their motives for being there and who will survive the night?

I’ve always been an admire Tarantino’s movies. He has his own distinct style, he writes cool quoteable dialogue and has excellent soundtracks to his films. He’s not perfect (I’m not a fan of his constant use of the n word) but he’s a truely original and exciting voice in Hollywood. The Hateful Eight has it’s flaws, more on which later, but it’s full of passion, good ideas and an excellent ensemble featuring Samuel L. Jackson and Kurt Russell.

From the outset the movie really sets the scene of this cold, hellish, blizzard, every time a character stepped outside I felt freezing, which is good as you have to believe that these strangers are literally trapped together. The harshness of the weather is nothing compared to the ruthlessness and coldness from inside the Stopover. Each character is well drawn and you can imagine the actors relished playing their roles. Every actor is good but Jennifer Jason Leigh’s Daisy just edges out the competition to be the stand out character. Leigh throws her all into the character as she gets hit, has stew thrown on her and spits her teeth out all with an insane grin on her face. The mystery aspect is also good with the majority of the action taking place in one location and shows Tatantino has still got plenty of ideas in him yet.

As much as I liked this movie I didn’t love like some of Tarantino’s other work. It feels too long, especially at the beginning, the main characters are all pretty unlikeable and overall the movie it doesn’t wow me as a whole, although there are some great moments throughout.

It may not be as engaging or feature as many iconic characters but The Hateful Eight shows that Tarantino is not one to rest on his laurels as this entertaining movie shows.

3.5/5 – The Hateful Eight shows there’s life in the old western genre yet and in Tarantino’s imagination

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Kingsman: The Secret Service

KingsmanHave you ever watched the recent James Bond movies and think Daniel Craig is great but I miss the humour and style of the older Bond films? Well if so Kingsman: The Secret Service may have been made for you.

Unemployed teenager Eggsy (Taron Egerton) lives in London with his mum and abusive stepfather. His life changes when he meets Harry Hart (Colin Firth) and finds out about the Kingsman- a secret intelligence service that Eggsy’s father used to work for. Eggsy volunteers to join the agency and soon has to go through rigorous training against his peers for the role. Meanwhile Harry has to deal with a possible world crisis involving billionaire and philanthropist Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson).

Graphic cartoon violence and tongue in cheek humour are aplenty in this latest movie from Michael Vaughn. Once again adapting from the work of Mark Millar, Vaughn is at home in the outlandish action and set pieces. Whether it’s on the streets of London, the villain’s lair or in a top-secret facility Vaughn sets up his super spy world and feels accomplished whatever the setting. A lot of the movie’s fun comes from seeing a suave and suited Firth kicking ass in a heavily bloody and ultra violent manner. An unexpected fight in a church is a particular highlight and excellently directed. Newcomer Egerton is engaging as Eggsy, an intelligent but restless youth who becomes a fish out of water while dealing with the rich, upper class snobbery of his fellow Kingsmen. Egerton manages to command the screen alongside his more experienced co-stars and from this and his work in Legend, he is set to be a star in the making.

However some of the film’s jokes falls wide off the mark, particularly the end sex gag. I can see what they were trying to go for with a send up of James Bond-esque sex jokes but it ended up falling flat and leaves the film on a sour note. Also despite Jackson being on entertaining form, Valentine is not as memorable a villain as one would have hoped for.

Still despite the flaws Kingsman: The Secret Service is huge fun and I look forward to the proposed sequel coming soon.

Rating 3.5/5 – violent, funny and entertaining with Firth looking like he’s having a ball

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier

After some exciting trailers the highly anticipated sequel to 2011’s Captain America film is here! But with all that hype can Steve Rogers and co possibly live up to the expectations?

Two years since the events of The Avengers and Steve Rogers is working for S.H.I.E.L.D and trying to find his place in the modern world. However as he finds himself involved in a conspiracy that threatens the world’s freedom he’s left wondering who he can really trust.

I liked the film, I really did, but I didn’t love it like I hoped I would. I think what I missed was a sense of fun that Marvel normally brings to its films like in Thor 2, Iron Man 3 and The Avengers. Thats not to say the film isn’t funny at points, it is, I just wanted more. But then that might have jarred with the conspiracy thriller feel that this film is going for.

I also found some of the twists a bit predictable and they took too long to reveal the identity of the Winter Soldier, especially considering most fans already knew who he was (granted some people may not have known but still I think this should have been revealed earlier in the film).

However despite this the film did have a lot of good points. Chris Evans is his usual charismatic self, making Steve Rogers a charming and noble man rather than the do-gooder bore he could have been. I liked seeing more of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) this time around and even though they played up the possible chemistry between her and Captain America I’m glad she wasn’t relegated to playing the ‘love interest’ role.

Again Marvel cast their supporting players well. Regular characters such as Nick Fury(Samuel L. Jackson) and Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) get a welcome return. We also get some brand new characters with Anthony Mackie’s first appearance as Falcon. I did feel we could have learnt a bit more about his back story but at least he was more well-developed than just being Captain America’s  black best friend.

As ever the fight scenes in the movie are great and are just as thrilling as anything Marvel has ever done in their other films. I also liked the fact that Anthony and Joe Russo-mostly known from directing tv shows such as Community and Arrested Developement– tried something different with this movie, making it more a conspiracy action film than the usual Marvel movie. Theres also for once a great mid-credit scene featuring some new characters to be seen in the next Avengers movie.

Rating 3.5/5 – solid work from Marvel but lacking a bit of fun

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