Locke (2014)

locke-ivan-locke-tom-hardy-desktop-wallpaper-1080p (1)Roze-Rating: 4.5 / 5

Tom Hardy stars in this claustrophobic drama, taking place solely in the confines of his BMW. Using only his acting chops and a bluetooth connected phone as a prop, this becomes more than a casual drive down the M6. We are first introduced to Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) clearly at a crossroads, deciding to run away from his problems or tackling them head on. The film consists of the unraveling of his life during one drive to London as he attempts to patch it together with only his mobile device as his tool. It’s a film we can all relate to, as we all know too well that mistakes have consequences.

This film instantly reminded me of Buried (Ryan Reynolds) and Grand Piano (Elijah Wood), as both films take place in one location and are more or less shot in real time. The problem with these films is trying to keep the audience engrossed despite it being shot in one boring location. Buried for me is a perfect example of a film that succeeds in being just as thrilling as any blockbuster I’ve ever seen, and that took place in a wooden box. Locke does it’s best to keep the interiors of Tom Hardy’s BMW interesting and engaging, using the reflections of street lights and passing cars to create a frame worth looking at. What really overpowers the screen though is Tom Hardy’s unworldly ability to project his emotions onto the audience. You can sense his frustration, sadness and determination to make what would seem like an impossible feat repairable. It takes some kind of actor with the ability to be on screen alone for the entirety of the film and make it as entertaining and suspenseful as this.

The script is what makes the film so riveting, and with award winning screenwriter Steven Knight in the driving seat making his vision come to life, there was no way his story was going to fall flat. Especially after coming off Hummingbird, his directorial debut which didn’t go down as well as he would have hoped. Locke not only showcases his brilliant talent for screenwriting once again but redeems his ability as a director. I have to admit that there could have been more room for creativity as some of the shots started to feel repetitive, but thankfully Tom Hardy’s dynamic performance prevents the film from becoming tiresome aesthetically.

The story is incredibly relatable which is ultimately why it’s so compelling. Ivan Locke is clearly not a guy to say sorry, which becomes clear as the film progresses. He instead is a man who steps up and fixes his problems with actions instead of meaningless words. He’s always looking for “the next step” towards repairing said problems, choosing practicality over emotions. That’s not to say that he doesn’t have his moments of cathartic swearing, we all need to do that every now and again. But we soon find out that his determination to do the right thing and put 100% into each problem stems from a deeper childhood trauma, which he clearly carries around with him.  We realize that one moment of wrong choices can unravel a persons life and the others around them but it doesn’t mean it’s all over.

Locke may not be every ones cup of tea as it lacks physical thrills but for anyone looking for emotional thrills, Locke will be right up your ally. Tom Hardy’s performance alone should be enough of an incentive to see this film, if not then at least check it out for the love of nice looking beards.

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What If (2014)

what-if-daniel-radcliffe

Roze-Rating: 4 / 5

After getting his heart broken, Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe) takes a long break from the dating world, and is adamant about his cynical standpoint about love. This soon changes when he meets Chantry (Zoe Kazan), a love interest at first glance only to learn the gutting news that she has a boyfriend of several years. A coincidental run in later they make truths to become friends, not letting their feelings get in the way of their friendship. As we all know, that never works.

‘What If’ sounds like your conventional Rom-Com on paper and it pretty much is. It tries its best to stray away from overdone plot points that we have seen in the past. Which makes for a less deja vu induced viewing but ultimately it isn’t anything original. What I’ve learnt from these traditional Rom-Com’s is that the story only plays a small part towards its success. We wouldn’t be watching these films if we weren’t hopeless romantics or participating in weekend date nights with our significant other. What makes these films enjoyable are the characters and the chemistry they have within their intertwined relationships. Without chemistry, especially from the leads, there would be no romance or any reason to feel a connection to the film. ‘What If’ benefits from two talented leads who ooze chemistry. You don’t always get to see chemistry between characters as natural and grounded as this in the Rom-Com genre.

This film also benefits from a down to earth script which is genuinely funny and is for the most part successful. I like how the story is clearly used and done before but the actions and rationale of the characters are grounded and realistic. It is an awkward situation, to like someone who is in a relationship. There will be hesitation and internal debate whether to pursue that person or not. Motivating that thought, “what if?”. I found the exploration of that quite interesting and relatable. Nothing too extravagant or unrealistic happens throughout this film, I found that to be a pleasant departure from those Rom-Coms which are overly dramatic or glamorized. It’s simply about a guy who realizes it’s a lot easier to be cynical about love than to go out and find it. It’s idealistic but an interesting theme of the film. As for the comedy, the cast are to praise. There are some great nuanced moments which are both cute and funny thanks to the performances. This again, relating to how well the cast seems to gel in those crucial one on one scenes. A moment I particularly found funny is when Chantry’s sister explains her experience with Wallace from the night before, it’s quite apparent that there’s no intention to cause drama but to voice her embarrassment. She then proceeds to make her belly look pregnant, I found that a lot funnier than I should have, but I guess I was more surprised that I’m not the only one who partakes in such quirk.

I haven’t seen Daniel Radcliffe since the Harry Potter films, and I regret not following his career since then as he plays the endearing Englishman unlucky in love perfectly. His decisions have been both interesting and diverse swaying away from high budget blockbusters, and I’m genuinely looking forward to his next projects. Adam Driver on the other hand is a revelation, having starred in films such as Inside Llewyn Davis, This is Where I Leave You and many more, playing both comedic and dramatic roles which I am looking forward to catching up on. As for his Star Wars gig, it will be interesting seeing how he comes off in a massive blockbuster film.

What If may not offer anything new in the Rom-Com genre but it does offer a beautifully shot ninety minutes of endearing characters and infectious on screen chemistry with a pretty banging soundtrack.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

Dawn-of-the-Planet-of-the-Apes-WallpaperRoze-Rating: 4.5 / 5

A decade after the fight of San Francisco, Ceasar and his following of intelligent apes have adapted to life in the Redwoods. Suffering the consequences of developing the drug which created these apes are the humans who have spent the last 10 years surviving a Simian Flu epidemic.The apes are convinced that the humans have lost their battle against the disease, until a member of Malcolm’s (Jason Clarke) group runs into two apes and shoots one in excitement. Ceasar still faithful to his no killing rule lets the humans escape, unaware that they are searching for a power source to get San Francisco running again.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes joins the ranks of great sci-fi blockbusters this year among the likes of X-Men: Days of Future Past, Edge of Tomorrow and Godzilla. Films which could really prompt the rise of genuinely good sci-fi films. For a sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes completely trumps its predecessor in all departments. Keeping Ceasar central to the story was a masterful decision and because of it we get a far more compelling story than that of the humans. We’re ultimately trying to get our way to the climax which is the planet of the apes, and it wouldn’t have felt right if Franco was still there fighting for screen time. Of course he is a massive part of Ceasar’s origin story which is where Ceasar’s compassion and empathy for the humans comes from, also a reason why Rise of the Planet of the Apes works so well, but telling the majority of the story from Ceasar’s perspective was definitely the right way to go. This way we have a protagonist who is unbiased and has an impartial view towards the world, a character we know we can trust in a broken society.

During Rise of the Planet of the Apes, we see Ceasar grow up among humans, absent to life with his own kind outdoors where he belongs. He doesn’t know what humans are capable of or where he came from, but asking the questions gives him answers he finds hard to swallow. Ten years on he and his family of intelligent apes have formed a sophisticated society living as one. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is great in so many ways, it could have easily turned into a cheap action crapfest but instead it’s an intelligent film not short of the human element. I think I join a large group of people who were attracted to this film purely because of apes with guns on horses, I mean I’ve never heard of anything as awesome as that. Anyone expecting 2 hours of apes with guns may be disappointed but I’d like to think that they’d be pleasantly surprised at the same time. We spend most of the film with Ceasar amongst his family contemplating how to deal with the humans. We learn their way of life and how they all live as one and care for each other, living without the modern necessities that we live with nowadays such as electricity and internet. It makes us question how we are as a modern society, everything that is wrong with it and everything right with it. Ceasar genuinely believes that Apes are better, but as the film unfolds he learns that ignorance and indifference is something you can’t prevent and maybe conflict is all but inevitable within nature.

This film not only shows us the potential of sci-fi but also how far performance capture has come. Andy Serkis has revolutionized the film making tool and proves that it shouldn’t be ruled out as a legitimate method of performance. A lot of buzz has gone around saying that Serkis deserves an Oscar nod after this performance, and I’ll have to agree. It’s amazing to even think that a man is literally playing Ceasar, all of his facial expressions, his movements, all these details which bring the character to life. Serkis expresses so many emotions just from these delicate details which is pretty amazing since Ceasar’s dialogue is quite limited. I’ve never felt such a strong connection with a non-human protagonist. That being said, Serkis is only one of many who use performance capture to play the ape characters. The likes of Toby Kebbell and Judy Greer prove that Serkis is not the only actor who can master performance capture. Kebbell especially puts in an absolutely terrifying performance as Koba, an ape who can’t forgive the years of torture ensued by the humans.

The only negative about the film would probably be the human characters, the only character which stands out is Malcolm (Jason Clarke), one of the few humans who see the apes in a much brighter light. He is to an extent quite an important character as he reminds Ceasar that not all humans are corrupt. Characters like Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) and Carver (Kirk Acevedo) represent how we find it hard to blame ourselves for the downfall of humans, even when the facts are right in our face. To an extent they mirror Koba’s same feeling of indifference.

As for the aesthetics, the CGI is a lot better than its predecessor by a large margin. The apes actually look real this time around, improving from the choppy CGI we had in the first film. The set design is incredible creating a post apocalyptic forest look to both San Francisco and the Redwoods, which sets up some incredible shots throughout the film. It’s just an overall great looking film. Also props to the sound mixing crew who created a genuine ape society atmosphere, sitting in the cinema and being able to hear apes surrounding you was not only awesome but put in perspective how many of them there were.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is definitely one of the best films of the year so far, not for its spectacle but more for its storytelling and direction. We’re being given an intelligent story about war and human nature, a film which makes us think rather than fry our brains, and for anyone who wants their brains fried, well apes on horses with guns!

Chef (2014)

Chef-1Roze-Rating: 4.5 / 5

Having gone through a stint of directing rather large budget films, Jon Favreau has “gone back to basics” with Chef, a film about cooking as a passion and a way of life. Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) is a passionate chef running his own kitchen at a stable restaurant, yet he is unhappy. Restaurateur Riva (Dustin Hoffman) wants him to play it safe but after countless years of serving the same food, all Casper wants is freedom so that he can go back to enjoying his passion once again.

Chef is one of those films that has you smiling throughout its run time, not purely from its humor but from its down to earth charm and feel good vibe. Everyone has a passion, it may dominate our lives or it may just be a hobby but we all have one. Seeing Carl Casper living his passion and being it is not only a joy to watch but inspiring for all us dreamers out there. Chef is a film that tells us that the measure of success is not large sums of money or working in a respected establishment, but the currency of happiness. Casper may have been blind to his unhappiness for years but once his creativity is obstructed he realizes that freedom is all he needs to be happy again, and just like Jon Favreau, going back to basics is the way to go.

What I love about chef is the detail that’s gone into depicting cooking and food as a passion, all the intricate details from handling the food to the acting. I totally bought into Jon Favreau’s character because he totally embodies this person who lives for food and all he wants to do is share his passion with others so that they can experience everything he loves about his art, and isnt that what all artists strive to do. But just like any art, it can be corrupted by external forces be it the industries or people that want to take control and that’s when problems occur. Ultimately the direction is brilliant, Chef is a film that knows what it wants to be, a grounded, character driven piece of film with a great soundtrack.

My favorite moments in the film are equally the same moments I hate because it makes me so damn hungry!. Seeing Casper handling his food as if each ingredient was his own child, so delicate and perfectly handled just hits home how much he loves what he does. It makes those father-son montages later on in the film that much more pleasing and effective, as we get to see Casper share his passion with his son. A relatable theme for me especially, bringing me back to the days where being told to do all the crappy chores from my dad was called bonding.

As for performances, props to Emjay Anthony playing Casper’s son, who gives for me the best performance in the film. He’s just a kid stuck in between his parents divorce who doesn’t quite understand it but at the end of the day he just wants to hang out with his dad. He’s innocent but optimistic, never intending to be overly emotional about the situation, just making the most of his time with his dad. As a result of his performance, the father son relationship steals the show.

It may not be the most eventful road trip film but it sure is the tastiest, offering an upbeat playlist of latin jazz and flavor, a film that will make you want to go out and partake in your passion.

The Other Woman (2014)

20140425TheOtherWoman3Roze-Rating: 1.5 / 5

Carly (Cameron Diaz), Kate (Leslie Mann) and Amber (Kate Upton) have one thing in common, they are all seeing the same man, Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). Even though they all meet in this awkward circumstance, they form a strong friendship which prompts their goal of destroying Mark’s life. What follows is a mixture of emotions for Kate who finds a life without her husband hard to digest but eventually with the help of her two new friends she learns that she deserves better.

This film reminds me of those old school comedies we used to get that only ever offered cheesy dialogue and cheap laughs, but they were strangely satisfying. Films like Daddy Day Care and Meet The Fockers, they weren’t exactly creative in the plot department but they executed their brand of humor in the best way possible. The Other Woman initially seems vapid from its trailers but could have turned out quite empowering for anyone who is unfortunate enough to be with a manipulative cheater. I felt it was stuck in between wanting to tell a light hearted story with a strong message and being a quirky comedy. Ultimately it doesn’t offer either of these things despite it’s efforts. The problem with the comedy is that it feels outdated, with the likes of Neighbors, 22 Jump Street and This is the End, comedies like The Other Woman really need to step it up. I mean the poop jokes are so overdone nowadays, in terms of ways to torture a guy, the possibilities are endless and that’s why the lack of imagination is really disappointing. That being said it seemed to get a relatively positive audience response with a 65% score on Rotten Tomatoes, this could be because of a strong female cast, Kate Upton’s Bay Watch moment or people actually enjoyed this film. I can’t say I agree with the audience tomato meter on this one.

We are given three different characters with considerably different personalities, we have Leslie Mann playing a housewife, Cameron Diaz as a strong minded lawyer and Kate Upton as the girl next door. Having this type of diversity supports its message, saying that no matter who you are, no woman deserves to be used or needs a man to depend on. It would have been effective if the characters weren’t so one dimensional. This is no criticism to the actors because they did well with what they were given, I just think if the film had a clearer direction and really empowered the trio by illustrating its message consistently and having a coherent ending, then it could have been heaps better. Leslie Mann actually has some great moments in the film, where she’s hesitant about leaving her husband, moments that are grounded and realistic as it’s a situation that would be hard to accept for anyone. Moments like that gave the film some potential, to add layers to a story which is largely thin. Talking about moments, Nicki Minaj surprised me immensely. She must have a knack for acting because she seemed so down to earth and reserved, which is not the Nicki Minaj we all know, I weirdly want to see more from her.

As a comedy The Other Woman doesn’t really work for me, there are a few laughs here and there, but for such a talented cast who have experience with comedy, they didn’t utilize them at their full potential. I’d rather see Leslie Mann improv more or bring out Kate Upton’s quirky personality that we’re all so fond of, than see a guy crap his pants. As for a film that empowers women, it too false very short. There’s a scene where Leslie Mann’s character throws her wedding ring into the sea to an emotional song, a scene which is intended to be a defining moment for her character but it runs like a music video, completely cheapening the moment, which represents what the film is as a whole.

Screen Fix Predictions: July 2014

July PredictionsFilms Opening in July;

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Sex Tape
The Purge: Anarchy
Hercules
Wish I Was Here
Begin Again (Critics: 75% | Audience: 79%)
Tammy (Critics: 21% | Audience: 62%)
Earth to Echo (Critics: 55% | Audience: 64%)


Dawn of the Planet of the Apes –
(Rotten Tomatoes Prediction: Critics: 85-95% | Audience: 85-95%) – Cinema Fix

All it took to sell me this film was monkey’s on horses, if they were to release a trailer of just the apes riding horses for a whole minute, I think I would still watch this film. Unfortunately this film looks even greater than monkey’s on horses, and that scares me because I hate going into films with high expectations. But I have a good feeling about this, as it looks greater in scale than “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” with the complex conflict between human and ape coming into play, Caesar seems even more conflicted perhaps sympathizing for humans downfall and the war scenes look incredible. Whatever happens I’m sure it will be one hell of a ride.

Sex Tape – (Rotten Tomatoes Prediction: Critics: 55-65% | Audience: 75-85%) – Cinema Fix

What makes this film so intriguing is how possible the premise is. I think most of us could admit that amongst our worst nightmares, accidentally mass emailing racy photos of ourselves would rank quite high on that list. Unless such photos don’t exist, then good on you, but who can resist nowadays with the emergence of the front side camera, snapchat and the increase of celebrity nudes. The way technology is going, soon being seen naked will be inevitable, as mentioned in the trailer, what even is the cloud?! The comedy seems to be going for a slapstick and sex jokes route, which is fine by me, therefore I will watch this film.

The Purge: Anarchy – (Rotten Tomatoes Prediction: Critics: 40-50% | Audience: 65-75%– Cinema/Rental Fix (Depends what else is opening)

I was not a fan of the first film and couldn’t understand why a sequel was being made, especially with the less than complimentary response it attained. I mean the premise is pretty interesting and makes you think a little bit about how we are as a society surrounded by violence. But the execution was below par and for a thriller it was quite the opposite. Nevertheless The Purge: Anarchy potentially looks entertaining, with a change of formula, now taking the fight to the streets and casting Crossbones (Frank Grillo) as the lead. That being said it could still end up being a mess, but as long as it provides enough thrills to put us at the edge of our seats, it should easily improve on its predecessor.

Hercules – (Rotten Tomatoes Prediction: Critics: 25-35% | Audience: 55-65%– Rent Fix

One word springs to mind when watching the trailer, “ambitious”. It looks visually impressive and usually that alone would get me in the cinema but I get this feeling it will be all spectacle and no substance. I love The Rock and he will no doubt kick ass but what ultimately turns me off this film is his “I am Hercules!” line, it just comes off so flat and expressionless, I cant help but think he may not be as bad ass as I want him to be. Either way I’m sure it will be entertaining and the CGI monsters may just do the trick for some people.