Wednesday, 5 June 2013

60 Second Film Reviews #5

Quick movie reviews, without the waffle. 60 Second Film Reviews is a regular feature where I compile together brief reviews of recent films I've watched at home or at the movies - and generally couldn't be arsed didn't find time to write a proper review for. 

This month, we have Snitch, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Wrath of the Titans and Drive.

Snitch (2013)

2013 is shaping up to be the Year of the Rock; star turns in G.I Joe: Retaliation, Pain and Gain, and Fast and Furious 6, Mr. Dwayne Johnson is everywhere you look this year.

His leading role as John Matthews in Snitch however is quite possibly the one that should be attracting the most attention and acclaim. Not usually known for his delicate acting (he is called the Rock after all), Johnson is something of a revelation as a father determined to do what he can to reduce his son's jail sentence by helping the DEA entrap drug dealers. 

As Matthews is swallowed up the criminal underworld, the film ramps up the tension. The chaos and carnage hinted at in the trailer is confined to the film's final 20 minutes with the rest of the narrative solely focused on building drama and the impressive acting.

The action sequences are plagued by stomach-churning shaky cam and some of the dialogue driven scenes are framed unconventionally; thankfully, this only piqued my attention once or twice, like when Matthews and  Daniel (Jon Bernthal) are sat in a diner. 

Anyone who is expecting an explosive and action-packed thrill-ride may feel a little let down, but personally, I found Snitch to be a tense and captivating drama that had me hooked on the final fate of its characters. 

I give Snitch: 7/10

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

File:The Perks of Being a Wallflower Poster.jpgA charming coming-of-age drama starring Logan Lerman (known for playing Percy Jackson in The Lightning Thief) and Emma Watson (known for playing a witch in this small indie film no-one has ever heard of called Harry Potter), The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of the most heart-felt and touching films that I have seen a while. Readers of this blog will remember I listed at No. 4 on my Top 5 Films of 2012 in December.

Charlie (Lerman) is a introverted and shy high-school freshman who is taken under the wing of two seniors Sam (Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller) and across a year of high school dramas, the trio 'find' each themselves and each other. 

The acting in this film is top notch; Lerman really knocked me for six as Charlie. Up until Perks, I had him down as 'that dude from Three Musketeers with the bad haircut'. I'd never paid him too much attention but his performance as the tortured and damaged Charlie really made me sit up and take notice. Who'd a thunk it?

Meanwhile, Emma Watson does a great job of stepping out of Hermione's shadow with a mature and heartfelt performance as Sam (even if she loses hotness points for putting on an American accent). Perks also has a fantastic soundtrack with songs from David Bowie, The Smiths and Sonic Youth all making the cut; check that out too.

I give The Perks of Being a Wallflower: 9/10

Wrath of the Titans (2012)

The sequel to 2010's critically panned Clash of the TitansWrath is a slight improvement to the franchise but not by much. 

After defeating Hades and the Kraken in the first film, Sam Worthington's Perseus is tasked with defending the world from Kronos and saving his father Zeus (Liam Neeson) who has been imprisoned in the Underworld by Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Ares (Edgar Ramirez).

The main problem with this franchise is that it doesn't feel like a historical epic. If the producers, directors and everyone involved had aimed higher and targeted fantastic epic's like Troy, Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven, then maybe they could have been something really special.

Instead, the film's are aimed at lower. With the physical but wooden Sam Worthington and reliance on CGI monsters and action, they feel very much like a Ancient Greek style Michael Bay film. This is not a good thing.

If you enjoyed Clash of the Titans, then Wrath is right up your alley. Bill Nighy and Rosamund Pike are some great additions to the cast but they play it for laughs. Likewise, Toby Kebbell has been added as Agenor but his role as 'class clown' falls flat. On the whole, it's an unnecessary sequel to a film that was pretty terrible in the first place.

I give Wrath of the Titans: 3/10

Drive (2011) 

File:Drive2011Poster.jpgRyan Gosling, Carey Mulligan and Brian Cranston star in this 2011 crime-thriller that sees Gosling's kind-hearted stunt-cum-getaway-driver dragged into the dirty underbelly of Los Angeles after a pawn shop robbery goes wrong.

Stylish, brutal and decidedly-old skool, Drive is a film that will divide opinions. On the one hand, Drive is a gorgeously shot 80's style action-thriller that oozes cool - Ryan Gosling certainly emulates actors like Steve McQueen in his practically-mute character The Driver.

On the other hand, overly-violent and stylish brawls will leave audiences feeling a little queasy in the stomach. This film does have some seriously skin crawling and bone crunching moments that will flick some audience members into the 'off' position like a light switch.

An impressive free-way car chase and a seriously hissable villain are some plus points whilst Ryan Gosling gives a career defining performance as the Driver who makes his actions speak louder than words. I felt that Carey Mulligan was a little miscast. Love it or loathe it, Drive is a film that has won a lot of awards and critical acclaim. Personally, I liked Ryan Gosling and the way it was filmed but felt the violence was too over-the-top.

I give Drive: 8/10

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