The Choice – 6/10

So let me start by saying, that this is classic Nich Sparks. So if Sparks aint’ your thang’ … then I would save your money for a different extortionately priced cinema ticket. However, if hopeless romantics and tear-inducing moments are your cup of tea, then get your pennies at the ready!

Set in Wilmington, North Carolina, we are first introduced to Travis (Benjamin Walker) – a ‘Southern Gentleman’ using his charms to lure in the local ladies.  Travis is the typical ageing bachelor, continuing to play the field whilst secretly yearning for ‘the one‘ (sorry- this is Sparks, I have to follow his whimsical style). Queue Gabby (Teresa Palmer), with her ‘girl next door’ optimism and bundles of sass. Gabby is just the kind of girl to keep Travis on his toes, she’s all he’s been searching for… there’s just one slight problem- Gabby has a fiancé.

What follows is a tale of angst and temptation, as the quarrelling pair try to fight their feelings for one another. Of course, as is classic with Sparks, this doesn’t go without heart-wrenching tragedy, but I’ll let you watch to see what that is.

So, what are my thoughts? I’ll admit that I had a soft-spot for this movie having spent a year living out in North Carolina, so a fondness for the setting may have swayed my judgment. I wouldn’t say that it was by any means overwhelming, and even for a Sparks fan, I doubt it would live up to the likes of the Notebook or Dear John. However, the characters have a certain charm and both Palmer and Walker are believable in their attempts to fight temptation.

For me personally, these storylines are just way too predictable, to the point where I could quite accurately guess many of the cringe-inducing lines. However, due to some nostalgia and all-round good feel-factor, I’m giving it a rather respectable 6.

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The Revenant – 7/10

Will he or won’t he? Let’s face it, that’s all anyone cares about, isn’t it? I’m talking about Film corner 12 favourite Leo DC and his long-awaited Oscar of course.

Well, as this is a film review blog and not a bookies, I’ll tell you my thoughts (without assessing whether it’ll be another flop for the Wolf).

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It’s not often that I struggle where to begin, my mind is a little mushed post-Revenant. It’s one of those that takes a little while to settle in what you’ve just witnessed before processing whether you actually “liked” the film.

Well there’s a lot ( a LOT) of blood, and gore,  I can tell you that for one.  If being mauled by animals and sleeping in carcasses is your thing, then this is the one for you. I wouldn’t say I’m particularly squeemish,  but I found a lot of the scenes hard to swallow (and not vom straight afterwards).

So, what’s it all about? In basic, it’s a more updated, more edgy, less stereotypical classic tale of cowboys and Indians. Set in the 1820’s, Leo plays a frontiersman on a fur expedition who gets left for dead by his crew after being mauled by a bear. The main perpetrator in the crime is Tom Hardy, barely recognisable beneath the styling and outstanding performance. What follows is a classic tale of stone cold revenge. I won’t give anything more away.

Overall, it was a little slow. I understand that a struggle was being portrayed, but it was at a point where it felt like a struggle for me simply to watch it. There were also some very odd scenes, I can’t really describe them without giving anything away,  but you’ll know the ones I’m referring to. Leo DC was just classic Leo, committed, compelling and completely convincing in his art.

ARGH,  sorry, but I can’t leave it without weighing in on the Oscar nom… I think he will. Not that I think this has been one of his best performances… but more that, I (and the Oscar squad) would fear a social media revolt if Leo missed out once more.

Everest 9/10

I’m probably starting to sound a little like a broken record… but I was not looking forward to seeing the hotly anticipated Everest. I didn’t go for the full IMAX experience (cheap skate) and regrettably so, as… I bloody loved it!

This is the kind of film that the term ‘edge of your seat’ was coined for. I was so connected to the character’s that my stomach dropped at every icy slip.

Everest-MovieBased on a true story (often an indicator of a great film) … we follow Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) as he leads an expedition to the summit of Mount Everest. Each paying member of the team has their own story as to why they are attempting to reach the summit and these are revealed throughout. Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal) leads a separate group to the summit on the same day.

The true nail-biting drama hits when a violent storm unexpectedly strikes the mountain mid-climb. Challenged by harsh conditions. fierce blizzards and sub-zero temperatures, we are met with some truly gruesome and shocking viewing. It is gory and intense in equal measures.

Jason Clarke is great in the leading role, effortlesslyy swinging between a caring paternal figure and a military-style leader. It is a brilliant tale of comradery and bravery, told in an unforgettable cinematic experience of special effects and mounting tension.

I can guarantee that you’ll feel the urge to shout/scream at the screen when the character’s make seemingly idiotic decisions. However, the realism comes back to the forefront when we are reminded at the end that it is based on real-life events. It is a fantastic memoir to such brave and heroic individuals.

 

Miss You Already 7.5/10

*DISCLAIMER* – I am about as far from being an overly-emotional individual as can be… if you’re hoping for tales of weeping and heartache you’re in the wrong place, please move swiftly on.

With that said, I must confess that the thought of seeing a film so heavily intoxicated with raw emotion made me feel a little nauseous and I experienced major regret once my ticket had been purchased.

However. I’m going to throw in that worn-out phrase reserved for teacher’s and do-gooder’s, by saying ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover’ (or a ‘film by it’s trailer’ in this instance) – as I am shocked to be saying, I kind of enjoyed this one.

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So, if you’ve been living in a cave somewhere and managed to avoid the bombardment of trailer’s and promo’s, let me fill you in on the storyline…

Jess (Drew Barrymore) and Milly (Toni Collette) have been ‘best friends’ since childhood. They do everything together growing up. Milly gets married to Kit (Dominic Cooper) and goes on to have children, whilst Jess settles down with Jago (Paddy Considine) – Fab cast eh?! The friendship continues through adulthood. The pivotal point is when Milly is diagnosed with breast cancer.

We follow Milly’s struggle of coming to terms with the diagnosis. We sympathise with Jess as she attempts to continue her supportive role whilst dealing with personal issues of her own.

Now I now what you’re thinking – THIS SOUNDS INTENSE

This is where you’re wrong… the script is so expertly written that many hard-hitting moments are coated with a believable dose of humour. For me, it is one of the most realistic portrayals of coming to terms with a diagnosis that I have experienced.

Unsurprisingly, the lead cast all shine in equal measures, admittedly some of our favourites in the biz here at thefilmcorner12. Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette create a friendship so believable that you want to third-wheel them (If you’re reading this – please take me out for cocktails with you gals).

It’s a bit of a life rollercoaster (as Ronan Keating so eloquently sang) – there’s the up’s, down’s, quick-spins where you get head-rush… it has it all, and then some.

So, if you’re in one of those moods where you need to be reminded of the true value of friendship and want to feel good about people again… give this a go. I wouldn’t bother taking the box of tissues, unless you’re a little wimpy, in which case wear waterproof mascara…

 

The Other Woman 6.5/10

So I was feeling a little downhearted and down-right bored this week, after a number of monotonous hours of trawling through lecture slides in the run-up to end of year exams. Oh the joys of university life. In this overwhelming sense of loss I needed a pick-me-up; fortunately this came well and truly in the form of a Friday night watching ‘The Other Woman’.

If I’m going to see a chick-flick, I want the true experience, and ‘The Other Woman’ does not disappoint: independent women (check), hot men (check), cheap laughs (check) … and a dollop of saucy romance (double check).

 

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The story is spelt out clearly if you’ve seen the trailer. Cameron Diaz appears to have the perfect life and boyfriend to accompany (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). However, upon surprising said boyfriend at his house, she discovers that he is married to Kate (Leslie Mann) and she is therefore in fact his mistress. The story unfolds to reveal that the lothario has collected a string of mistresses to fulfill his high sex drive.

The laughs are better than those expected in a run-of-the-mill chick flick, the sisterhood is stronger and the men are (debatably) hotter. It may not be a life-changing, pretentious, low-budget indie film, but it is a film that the most miserable amongst us may even manage to have a chuckle at. Actually, maybe not the likes of Jeremy Clarkson, it’s not THAT funny.

I’m not suggesting that you run to the nearest over-priced cinema house in a Twi-hard fashion to watch Cameron and co. However if you find yourself at an odd’s end, bored shitless of life and forgetting what laughter feels like, this may be one for you.

Dear Zachary- 10/10

Wow. Just wow

My decision to watch this was made on a Saturday night. One of those odd Saturday nights where you find yourself with no plans, whilst the entirety of Facebook seems to be doing something bigger/better.

So on this particular Saturday night, I found myself Googling ‘the most powerful films of all time‘. I discarded the ones with subtitles (not in the mood) and those I had seen before (why waste my time?) and found the title ‘Dear Zachary‘ appearing over and over and over again…

This I soon found out, was for good reason.

I would go as far as to say that ‘Dear Zachary‘ is THE most powerful film I have ever seen.

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It is a documentary, but don’t let that put you off. It was made by then-amateur director, Kurt… Kurt was the best friend of Andrew Bagby… a man murdered in 2001…. 5 months before his first child was due to be born… Zachary.

The film starts as a ‘living memory’ of Andrew, to one day show his son how truly great his father was. Though as the story unfolds it takes on a whole new purpose.

The entire thing is gripping and raw. I have never before seen such pure emotion captured through lens, with a number of unbelievably heart-felt moments throughout. I am not ashamed to say that I choked up, even the most macho out there will.

If I can recommend one thing in this amateur, possibly pointless blog, it is that you go and watch Dear Zachary. This post will now be added to the numerous others describing the film as one of ‘the most powerful of all time’ … and rightly so. I can tell that Dear Zachary will be left with me for a long time from now, filling a number of meandering thoughts and pretentious student-y conversations… and that is exactly the kind of film I like.

Endless Love (2014) – 6.5/10

I must advise that this film comes with a SEVERE HEALTH WARNING. Those who are lactose intolerant should steer well clear of this film as it comes served with a huge helping of cheese. Literally by the barrel-load.

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I have never quite felt the true meaning of ‘cringe‘ before viewing Endless Love. As is expected with the title, this film follows a teenage couple in love for the first time. They encounter a number of ‘first-world problems’ e.g. A protective father, a family affair and a jealous ex-girlfriend … but they decide that their love is *cough cough* endless, continuously displaying this through a charade of rebellious displays of affection.

Now I wouldn’t be being true to myself if I didn’t reluctantly confess that I actually enjoyed it. Yes, you read me right… don’t make me say it again.

As gooey and tragic as it is, it’s so bad that it’s so good. It almost becomes a comedy at one point, a highlight being when the lead girl says ‘I want to feel this with you’ before the first ‘love’ scene. The all-time greatest moment has to be though, when at a graduation party the 17/18 year old youths decide to pair up and make dance routines, kind of high-school musical style. I know this is a remake of an old classic, but surely some of the scenes could be updated.

I’m not going to say it’ll be for everyone, because it simply won’t. And I’m not going to say you won’t feel like diving to the nearest sick bucket in parts, because you probably will. But there’s something there that will ring true with everyone at points, admittedly a little over-exaggerated at times, but all the same you can’t help feeling a little nostalgia for a time when all was possible. Maybe it’s just me. Soppy shit.

Dallas Buyers Club 8.5/10

As I suppose many of you did, I succumbed to the overwhelming hype surrounding McConaughey’s latest role and raced to the nearest cinema as soon as I could to see ‘Dallas Buyers Club’. I’m happy to tell you that, it did not disappoint… £4.80 well spent.

The story centres on Ron Woodroof, a randy, heavily intoxicated electrician and part-time hustler. The poor man’s ‘Jordan Belfort’ – for those of you who idolised the ‘Wolf’. Based on a true story, Woodroof is diagnosed with AID’s during the 80’s epidemic; he goes on to create the ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ to give other patients the medication they need.

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The word ‘intense’ would almost be too weak to describe this piece of cinematic genius. I’ve used that word to describe much lesser displays of emotional drama. It is one of those films where you find yourself willing on the character… you are fighting for McConaughey from the edge of your itchy, hard and confined cinema seat (maybe VIP is worth the extra pound).

I don’t want to sound patronising, as I have found many articles to be when describing McConaughey’s recent transformation, but this man has truly transformed! I’m not going to lie, I swooned as much as any other crushing teenager when the McConaughey of yester-year ripped off his shirt in the likes of ‘How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days’ and ‘Failure to Launch’ (Yes, I have watched these films, don’t judge, I know you have too…). But that surfer God has now vanished, and in his place is an actor of the finest kind, award-worthy in my eyes.

Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner provide truly impressive support, making this a definite must-see film of the year. Prepare to well-up (even the ‘hard men’ out there), prepare to re-evaluate views (yes, it’s thought provoking) and prepare to have a thoroughly enjoyable cinematic experience. Get down to the cinema now… 

Precious – 9/10

Let’s start by saying that this film doesn’t leave a hard-hitting stone unturned… There are scenes of violence, rape, incest, bullying, teen pregnancy… The list goes on, you name it, and it’s there.

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An initial read of the blurb almost managed to deter me from what I imagined to be a slow-moving sob story, which would move me no closer to tears than the likes of a willowing James Blunt song. An overweight teenager, Claireece ‘Precious’ Jones, from Harlem suffers a childhood of torment and abuse but begins to turn her life around when she enrols in an alternative school.

Oh and it ‘stars’ Mariah Carey. I can tell you now that I enjoy watching an R ‘n’ B singer delve into the acting World about as much as I enjoy getting to Nandos to find out that they’ve run out of Perinaise/Lemon + Herb Marinade (that’s not very much at all, in case you’re questioning).

So you can imagine my surprise when I found myself horrified at the abuse Precious was undergoing and felt myself willing her to turn her life around and be a success. And what was even more shocking, was the fact that Mariah Carey is almost convincing in her role and though I hate to admit it, she delivers a pretty stellar performance.
The whole thing is an emotional rollercoaster in the greatest sense, one that I would most definitely re-visit for a second ride. The main thing is that it’s believable, there will be a Precious out there somewhere and I’m sure many who watch it will relate to her in some way.

Now I don’t want to go all deep on you guys, because you all know that that isn’t my vibe at all. But if you’re in the mood for a heart-wrenching 110 minutes, take a little look into the life of Precious; I’m almost certain you’ll be willing her on as much as I was. There, I’ve admitted it, I’m a big softy at heart.

The Wolf of Wall Street 7/10

Let’s not beat around the ‘oh-so-obvious’ bush here and begin by addressing the fact that this film is a whopping 3 hours long! Yes I mean 180 mins, 10800 seconds, 2 whole football games, 1/8 of a day, a return flight to Paris…

If you can get past this rather off-putting point, please continue to read on…

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The story follows Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio)  a young naïve, newlywed with aspirations of being a Wall Street stockbroker, through his troublesome path to obscene wealth and drug addiction. There’s a charade of drug abuse, violence and butt-naked femalesthroughout the 3 hours (did I mention how long it was?) if that’s your sort of thing, run to the nearest cinema NOW. It will be the best film you’ve ever seen, genuinely.

For those who require more than a host of shaven genitals and powder snorting to awaken their entertainment juices… you will enjoy it, but I doubt you’ll want to see it again.

Leo Di undoubtedly delivers an outstanding performance, true to form. Similar to his portrayal of Gatsby, he is the suave, charming gentleman penned by many-a-noted writer. Matthew McConaughey gives an equally memorable performance (though his appearance is minor) with what I would regard one of the most memorable scenes in a restaurant on Wall Street (you’ll find yourself humming and beating your chest for a week afterwards).

There are plenty of laughs (not surprisingly supplied by Jonah Hill) and some extreme highs and lows. Leo’s speeches addressing his employees are Braveheart-esque, so much so that you find yourself wanting to fight for Belfort, party with Belfort and for the most part… be Belfort.

I’m finding it difficult to put across anything bad to you, and that’s because it wasn’t bad, there was just something… missing. (Don’t shoot me for the cliché). It could be this preceded hype that is continually putting films on a pedestal for the likes of me to swipe it from beneath their feet and beat their credentials to a lifeless pulp.

I’m not going to do that to this film, because I honestly didn’t dislike it. Maybe it was just my numb backside distracting my thoughts, but I switched off. Do this film in two sittings, and I reckon you’d be onto a winner. You will definitely want to work for Stratton Oakmont, Inc. if Carlsberg did workplaces…