Tag Archives: Will Poulter

Detroit

Detroit_teaser_poster

I can’t say I know too much about American history with only the basic knowledge beforehand of the Detroit riots but I managed to see an advance screening of Kathryn Bigelow’s latest movie and boy what an education.

It’s the summer of 1967 and civil unrest leads to riots across Detroit. One night during the riot reports of gunshots near the Algier Motel leads to unexpected levels of police brutality as racism and violence spills further out of control.

I felt absolutely sick to my stomach watching Detroit and for a long time afterwards too. In a way it’s probably the best film I never want to see again. But it definitely deserves to be seen and talked about.

Bigelow has always been a strong director that can amp up the tension to keep the audience at the edge of their seat but here the tension is brought to an almost unbearable level and there’s no action set piece or surfer drug dealers a la Point Break to release the anxiety.

From the off there’s a feeling of dread as the movie introduces you to Detroit 1967 and the group of characters caught up in one particularly awful night during the riots. That dread feels even worse as you know it is all based on real events and real people brutalised, beaten and killed by the police. With such an excellent cast giving their absolute all there are two in particular that stand out. Will Poulter is fantastic as officer Krauss, whose sinister and murderous actions leave you reeling the whole way through. I haven’t felt such an overwhelming feeling of hate towards a movie character for a long time. Then there’s Algee Smith who I never heard of before but is utterly heartbreaking as singer Larry Reed in this movie and has a lovely soulful voice. Hopefully this won’t be the last we see or hear from him.

It would have been easy enough to just stop right after the incident at the hotel when the audience is feeling bad enough but Bigelow doesn’t let up and doesn’t let its audience off the hook. She doesn’t just want to make you sad, she wants you to feel angry and not just about what happened that night in the hotel but at the injustice that continued on afterwards and still continues now. One of the most disturbing things about the film is the fact that very little has changed. You can’t make yourself feel better by saying well that’s all in the past now.

After seeing this Dunkirk has got some tough competition on its hands come Oscar season.

Rating 5/5 – see it, get angry and spread the word – this must be seen.

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The Revenant

The_Revenant_2015_film_poster

It’s only a couple of weeks until the Oscars now, and I finally get round to seeing one of the frontrunners-The Revenant. But after Alejandro G. Inarritu’s last film Birdman won Best Director and Best Picture can Inarritu possibly strike gold again a year later?

In 1823 a group of trappers are left stranded after an ambush by a Native American party. As they try to head back to safety hunter Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is badly mauled by a bear. While the majority of the group go onhead for help, John Fitzgerald -one of the men left to look after him- manipulates events to leave Glass half burried in a man made grave. Barely alive and heavily injured Glass must survive on his wits and his will for revenge to make it back.

This is a movie based on real events, and it’s an impressive story of one man’s struggle to survive against the odds. Battling aginst nature, animals and other men, Inarritu immerses you into Glass’ journey. You feel the brutal coldness of the wildlife and the harshness of the elements. Sometimes the movie feels like an endurance, which is probably exactly how Inarritu intended The Revenant to be.

There are impressive set peieces such as the attack on the trappers by the Native Americans at the beginning of the movie and the bear attack attack on Glass. The make up on display here is amazing, all of Glass’ injruies are shown in glory, bloody detail, if it wasn’t based on a true story you would think Hollywood was getting too ridiculous in it’s fight for survival stories. DiCaprio makes a strong bid for his long awaited Oscar for Best Actor, although I think his turn in The Wolf of Wall Street is still his most impressive performance. In supporting roles Tom Hardy is good but I was more impressed by Will Poulter as the conflicted, naive Jim Bridger.

However much I like The Revenant, I left feeling as though it was more a film to admire rather than love. Inarritu is a great director but as one of the front runners for Best Picture at the Oscars I feel The Big Short and Room are more deserving of the big win out of all the films I’ve seen so far. The beginning is great and so is the bear attack and the majority of Glass’ journey, but the film is 156 mins long and you really start to feel this in the second half of the movie. I was really intreaged by the subplot of the Arikara Native American party who is on their own search for revenge, but it ends up being a disapointment. And while I could suspend my disbeleief over Glass’ bear attack and recovering from being half buried alive (as these are based on real events), I was struggling more when Glass manages to survive gallaping off a cliff on a horse (the horse more realistically does not survive). There were also moments which I suspect were meant to be heartfelt and tear-jerking such as when Glass sees visions of his dead wife, but it ends up being more distracting and unintentionally funny.

Maybe this is what happens as a result of being the most hyped up movie of the Oscar season, by the time I got round to see The Revenant it was bound to be an uphill battle. Also after having seen The Hateful Eight, Everest and The Revenant in a space of a few weeks I’m getting a bit sick of movies set in the cold and the snow. Hopefully the next trend will be movies set in the Bahamas.

Rating 3.5/5 – stunning cinematography, direction and acting but way too long

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The Maze Runner

Summer is over and so are most of the big blockbuster films of the summer. Hoping to repeat the success of The Hunger Games and Divergent comes The Maze Runner, adapted from the novel by James Dashner. With an intriguing premise and positive early buzz, can The Maze Runner be the next franchise to watch out for?

Teenager Thomas (Dylan O’ Brien) wakes up in an abandoned place called The Glades, he has no memory of anything apart from his name. His only companions are a group of teenage boys who have been sent there years before Thomas arrived. Every day they try to find a way out of the Glades through the maze that surrounds them. But the maze changes everyday and if they don’t return before night they risk getting stuck with the creatures that hide within the maze. Can Thomas find a way out, discover who he is and why he has been put there?

Yes this may be another adaptation of another popular young adult book series but The Maze Runner doesn’t feel like a poor imitation of The Hunger Games or Divergent. It refreshing to have a male teenage lead for once, especially as O’Brien seems to be a young talent to watch out for. We are thrown straight into the action seeing Thomas waking up in his new surroundings and feel Thomas’ confusion and desire to know more about who placed them in the Glades. He makes for a sympathetic lead among a cast of strong supporting actors most of who are British (always glad to see Brits doing well). Former child actors Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Love Actually and Game of Thrones) and Will Poulter (Son of Rambow and We’re The Millers) are great as two of the Gladers Newt and Gally. Poulter in particular is good. Although Gally is technically the antagonist to Thomas, his actions are understandable considering the hostile environment and years of torment he’s had to experience. Aml Almeen is also memorable as Alby the leader of the Gladers.

As with all the best teen adaptations there is a nice dark tone to the film, with hints of Lord of The Flies with the whole young boys left alone idea (not that it goes as dark as that). It also has a good mix of adventure with creepy monsters hunting in the maze as well as the great concept of the Maze itself. Seeing the movie in Imax also made the depth of the maze seem more impressive and completely daunting. There is also a welcome bit of humour to lighten up the film so it does not go too dark.

It disappointing though that the main female, Kaya Scodelario’s Teresa, is underdeveloped and mainly seems there to push the plot forward. And although I liked how the ending teased the next installment some may feel it lacked a definitive ending. But for me this is a franchise that is entertaining and stands out from the other YA pack of the moment. While it’s not quite up to the standard of  The Hunger Games, at least Katniss finally has some worthy competition.

Rating 4/5 – exciting and thrilling, I can’t wait for the sequel already!

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We’re The Millers

Jennifer Aniston has been in plenty of so-so ‘comedies’ since she left friends nearly 10 years ago. Only The Good Girl really sticks in the mind as being a decent film (although she did a good villain role in Horrible Bosses). So how does her latest comedy add up?

David (Jason Sudeikis) is a small time marijuana drug dealer who through a series of mishaps owes a big amount of money to his boss-a drug lord. To clear his dept he needs to smuggle a big supply of marijuana from Mexico into the US. To evade suspicion he decides to enlist a fake family in a RV so hopefully no-one will look twice at him. So he gets his neighbour stripper Rose (Jennifer Aniston), geeky teen Kenny (Will Poulter), and runaway Casey (Emma Roberts) to pose as his wife and two children. What can go wrong? Plenty it seems.

At last Aniston is in a film that’s actually meant to be funny! Ok it may not be a comedy classic but We’re The Millers provides enough laugh out loud moments to pass the time amiably enough. Sudeikis and Aniston have great banter as the bickering neighbours who maybe have more affection for each other than they care to admit. Their scenes with a another camping family are great, especially during a misguided game of dictionary. Aniston looks like she’s having more fun in this film then she has in a dozen of her so-called rom-coms. Emma Roberts clearly also enjoys playing the bad girl role delivering her snappy one liners with relish.

Brit Will Poulter steals many scenes as the awkward but well-meaning teenager Kenny, whether its singing along to TLC’s Waterfalls or the scene where a spider bites his….well I won’t spoil the surprise. Its his performance you’ll remember when the film is over-and when a film has a heavily advertised Jennifer Aniston stripping scene you know you have a future star on your hands.

Ah the stripping scene, featured heavily in the film’s promotion and a reason, I suspect, many guys (and some girls) will happily watch this film. Well Jennifer Aniston does look great. Is it really needed in the film? That’s probably something to be discussed in a different post. At least I found it amusing the way they try to make Rose’s stripping an important plot point (cause you can’t have a character needlessly stripping, no its a way to save her ‘family’ of course!).

Rating 3.5/5- I’d happily go on another holiday with the Millers!

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