The Iceman (2013)

180755.2 Roze-Rating: 3.5 / 5

Based on true events, The Iceman explores the life of infamous contract killer Richard Kuklinski. The film spans from his time as small time pornography dubber to mob hit-man. To his family he is in the currency exchange business seemingly living a normal life but once too many kills gain the interest of the media he is inevitably arrested for over 100 murders.

The Iceman is intensely dark and gritty with the help of a powerful performance by Michael Shannon who independently makes this a must watch. There’s great performances everywhere within this film as we’re given a star cast to indulge in. Winona Ryder (haaaawt) is solid as Kuklinski’s wife, a crucial character within the hit-man’s world as she is the basis of the only human emotion Kuklinski feels. Ray Liotta is mob boss Roy Dameo, feeling quite at home having countless gangster experience on the screen. Chris Evans is perfect as Kuklinkski’s accomplice, he’s deeply dark but slick as he has no problem with what he does. Nice seeing Evans out of the Marvel universe and getting into these scary roles. Probably one of the most surprising performances comes from former Friends star David Schwimmer. Throughout the film I kept thinking I recognized his face but couldn’t put a name to it. Hidden behind a distasteful hair do and mustache he plays Dameo’s right hand man Josh Rosenthal. He’s like a son to Dameo but sloppy antics and a lack of integrity leave the mob boss a hard decision to make.

Stealing the show is of course Michael Shannon who puts it all on the screen. He’s dark, gritty and slightly misunderstood. I felt he played the character terrifyingly well and it could possibly be one of the best performances of the year. He gave Kaklinski a humanistic side as opposed to the emotionless person we see at the start. He’s molded by his disturbing childhood which gives him this ignition of anger whenever he is provoked. The difference between his jailed brother and him is that he has the ability to control it when necessary. Despite his ability to kill with no remorse he has a strong moral code of not harming women or children which doesn’t necessarily put him in the category of serial killer as he does feel something towards people. Having a violent childhood makes him somewhat cynical towards god, shown through a scene where he gives a man time to pray before he is killed, mocking the idea that god could possibly come down and stop him.

Despite a great performance by Shannon, it felt like the script was lacking character depth. We’re given a character that is compelling, he kills because he’s good at it and feels very little for the people he kills. But he cares dearly for his family just like anyone else. There’s no in depth exploration of who the Iceman really is. We are given small nit-picks of his personality and values, and it can be interpreted differently depending on how you see him. It just felt like an opportunity missed for a brilliant character piece. Ultimately it’s more of a gangster thriller than a thorough look into the Iceman.

The cinematography fit’s perfectly with the intended tone of the film, it’s dark, colourless and stylish. The combination of cinematography and music makes most of the film intense and relentless.

A scene that I love the most is when Kaklinski continuously bangs his head against an elevator wall while repeating “I’m sorry, I’m sorry”, it show’s how little that means in the gangster business but also gives him a vulnerability that we don’t see for the first half of the film.

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Masters of Sex (Pilot)

Masters of SexRoze-Verdict: Its premise will attract viewers for all the right reasons, it’s a 50’s period piece exploring social themes of that era, with Mad Men coming to an end soon this may be the perfect series to turn to for our 50s – 60s cravings.

The series follows protagonists Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson who we know in present day as the pioneers of human sexuality. Based on the biography by Thomas Maier “Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love”, we are taken on their journey as the duo risk their reputation and careers for science.

Starring;

  • Michael Sheen as William H. Masters
  • Lizzy Caplan as Virginia E. Johnson
  • Caitlin Fitzgerald as Libby Masters
  • Teddy Sears as Dr. Austin Langham
  • Nicholas D’Agosto as Dr. Ethan Haas
  • Beau Bridges as Provost Barton Scully
  • Allison Janney as Margaret Scully, Scully’s wife

The premise is entertaining, exploring a subject that almost everyone is curious about except it is taken from a time where sex was taboo, only meant for love and creating life. This makes it a hell of a lot more interesting and thought provoking as we get a genuine insight on the ideologies that society had given women and men about family, love and sex.

The title itself would attract enough viewers to make this successful because sex sells I suppose, as we all have our inner pervert. I’m happy to say that my genitalia did not have any input in watching the pilot (a first). I wasn’t surprised to find that it was a great pilot keeping me interested and entertained til the very end. It has a lot of potential and I’m looking forward to binge watching the rest of the season once it ends next month.

Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan look brilliant together, they seemed to gel really well in the pilot. It wasn’t just an instant connection but they gradually grew into this team who played off each other’s passion for the science of sex believably. Of course we’re left wondering where the next episodes will take us and what formula will be used but there’s a lot of potential for quite an entertaining chemistry between the two assuming they don’t take too much of a serious approach. Sheen performs as a cold, emotionless, egotistical doctor passionate about his work. He’s not a bad person, just too absorbed in his research. Caplan plays an unfamiliar character for her, as we see her cast as party girls and rebellious women, so this character should be a great challenge and way to push her acting abilities to its limit. her character is a strong woman driven by what she wants. Different from the women in those times who knew their place in society. A scene where she retaliates when getting hit by a man says a lot about her personality.

The pilot gave us a look at a few of the themes they may explore during the season. We get a glimpse of racial discrimination, pressures of having a family and the opinions of sex during the 50s. Most of all, I think the main theme will be women. As we hear both main characters explaining how their research will benefit women the most, for medicine and recreation. It’s an exciting time for women as they have just been given the right to vote and now the truth about female sexuality can overshadow society’s preconceptions on the matter.

Great pilot, only negative I think was the music. It felt out of place since it was quite modern but that is just my opinion. I like how Mad Men would stick to their time periods music, it really made you feel like you were there.

Man of Steel (2013)

2013_man_of_steel_movie-wideRoze-Rating: 4.5 / 5

Probably one of the most anticipated films this year, Man of Steel is a total reboot of the Superman franchise. Was it needed? I think most fans of the superhero would agree that it’s been due ever since the surge of comic book films over the past few years. Man of Steel explores the origins of Clark Kent tracking back to the demise of Krypton, fast forwarding to Kent’s journey to self actualization hoping to discover his destiny on earth.

I’ll confess that I haven’t actually seen any previous Superman films, so I’m quite clueless in terms of comparing past films with this one although I am aware of some Superman facts (who isn’t?!). One thing is for sure and that’s Man of Steel trumps its predecessors in the special effects department because this film boasts some of the best CGI and action sequences of the past decade. A lot of people don’t seem to be a fan of Zack Snyder, I think mostly due to his unique style. His past films include 300, Sucker Punch and Watchmen. All films which are far from bad but have something in common and that is a distinct visual style. Man of Steel joins his list of visually stunning films and may make the list of the most aesthetically pleasing films of all time. It’s hard to find a scene which isn’t beautifully shot or constructed. The film is clean, crisp, slightly grainy and contains some of the best lighting I’ve seen. Only negative would be that the sun seems to be conveniently placed in the background for more scenes than it needs to be.

In my second viewing I grew to appreciate Snyder’s storytelling technique, it’s unique and efficient which totally enhances the viewing experience. I really like how we start off in Krypton and get to see it on the big screen which I don’t think past films ever touched on. This would be a massive win for the fanboys out there. Once the film makes it to earth we’re entertained to a number of flashbacks which occur parallel to Clark’s journey to self actualization. The flashbacks have a lot of substance and we get to learn about his past and the ideologies that he was brought up with. This gives reason to some of his actions in present time. This was probably my favorite aspect of the film because some of the flashbacks were incredibly emotional, (Spoiler! If you’ve never heard of Superman) namely Jonothan Kent’s death scene which I totally loved. I mean I would never risk my life over a dog but that moment where he holds his hand up and accepts that he’s going to die for the greater good of mankind but also Clark was incredibly emotional but also hit on how much trust Clark had for his father to just let it happen.

I was quite pessimistic about the casting of Henry Cavill at first but once seeing him play the Man of Steel for real, he proved to be a perfect casting. He didn’t just get totally ripped for the part but he captured how human Superman is for such an extraterrestrial being. Small things like acting all cool when wanting to smash a brotha’s face in and that look of remorse when reluctantly doing what’s necessary. Michael Shannon as General Zod was a total win, you wont get anyone more intense and scary than that guy. The “I will find him!” quote will live on in my mind for a long time. I also really liked Lois Lane (Amy Adams) as a character in this film, she wasn’t a damsel in distress and when she was she took matters into her own hands. The fact that she can take her liquor says a lot about her character in general.

Lastly for a superhero film I think the action was awesome and far from generic. It definitely got your adrenaline pumping. I liked how the kryptonian’s fought, it seemed really appropriate that they could shift from punch to punch with intense velocity. If they can jump for miles then shouldn’t they be able to punch really fast? The action sequences had a genuine video game and comic book look to them from the fighting movements to the fire explosions; which proved to be the theme of the fights. Even though I found the action pretty epic, I think that’s where Man of Steel put a lot of people off, leading to quite a few negative reviews. The first half of the film was perfect in terms of narrative which made the action satisfying for me, but once it started you never had a chance to breath; it was relentless. After awhile all the noise, music and explosions start to lose impact and an emotional disconnect starts to develop which is why I think some people ended up leaving the film unsatisfied. That being said any action junkie would love this film.

Despite the lack of fun and joy with this first installment of the rebooted superman series, there’s a satisfying amount of action and narrative to keep you glued to the screen. Man of Steel is a total origin story of where superman came from and how he became more than a kryptonian but a symbol of hope to mankind.

On a final final note, Hanz Zimmer is a genius, the score for this film is amazing. I like how it’s present throughout which is definitely important for comic book films. I feel that comic book films nowadays lack a distinct theme song.

What do you guys think of the new superman? better than the classics? Do you agree with the critics or do you think they are being picky for the sake of being haters?

Gangster Squad (2013)

gangster-squad-poster

Roze-Rating: 3.5 / 5

In this period gangster thriller we are sent back to 1949 post WW2. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) returns from war and back to sunny Los Angeles where things have changed drastically. Mickey Cohen is a power hungry gangster who is willing to do anything in order to grow his empire. His ambitions to own the whole of the west coast drives him to countless murders in what he calls “progress”. Before it’s too late Cheif Bill Parker (Nick Holte) contacts O’Mara and urges him to get a team together later known as “The Gangster Squad”. They’re mission is to take down all of Mickey Cohen’s crime operations before they grow too big to take down.

I expected this film to be loaded with plot twists, character development and periodical references. I suppose I thought it would be challenging LA Confidential or any other good period gangster films. Instead it lacked in all those areas and wasn’t as serious as I thought it would be. This was a good and bad thing because it ticked all the boxes that I like in a fun cop film but with a cast that it boasted and the performances it had; the lack of substance was unsatisfying.The plot is simple which didn’t really leave much room for an explosive film, which was disappointing especially when you have such an intense character like Mickey Cohen as the villain. That being said once you realize what direction the film is going, then you can sit back and enjoy it. As soon as I heard the music during the opening scene with Josh Brolin, I could tell it was going to be more fun than dramatic.

There’s enough action to keep the average film viewer satisfied but on the second viewing you realize it’s not as thrilling as it could have been. The shootout’s are loud but there isn’t much to them making them seem generic. Maybe I’m being overly fussy but I felt there was a missed opportunity in that aspect of Gangster Squad. Nevertheless they were still fun to watch.

The cast is amazing, I mean two of my favourite actors on screen… banging… again. So it was always going to be hard to hate this film when Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are acting together. Luckily they put in some pretty good performances. A lot of people didn’t really like Goslings high pitched, slightly odd accent and I think the director must have caught on to it because it gradually subsided as the film progressed. I didn’t mind it to be honest, it gave his character more of an identity. The rest of the cast were incredibly solid, it was the second time I’ve seen Josh Brolin play a lead role and he nailed it. Now I wish he was the new batman. Sean Penn as always is amazing as the power hungry Mickey Cohen, if there was more to the script, giving him more of a dynamic than just a short tempered gangster with a tolerance to killing then he would easily be one of the most menacing villains of 2013.

Gangster Squad really is style over substance. It’s glossy and pristine, despite it being shot in dark surroundings for most of it, you can catch the colours of neon signs and red lipstick very clearly. It’s definitely nice to look at, which is one of the main positives of this film, it captures that time period pretty well in a unique fashion.

Despite some disappointment over Gangster Squad, I actually quite enjoyed it. It seemed like the perfect film for me, I like gangsters, I like snappy one liners and I like shootouts. Was the film perfectly executed? No, but it’s fun and entertaining enough to watch til the O’Mara-Cohen showdown.

Man of Steel (Trailer)


Literally jizzing my pants to see this movie, since the sudden surge of comic book films, I’ve been totally hooked. Literally been researching every characters back stories, seeing if there’s possibilities for films or if they can be in future Avengers films. No wonder comic book crazies are so into this stuff, the speculation is the funnest part of the comic book experience.

Anyways for some reason a lot of people hate Zack Snyder, and I don’t get why, I mean he brought us freaking 300, with the most epic quote ever “This is SPARTA”. One thing he does bring to a film, is heaps of style and along with it comes a unique tone. I’ve seen three of his five films, and the have all been pretty good, 300 is just fuckin’ epic, Dawn of the Dead is one of the best zombie flicks I’ve seen and Suckr Punch was… interesting, not bad, but a bit too unusual for me, but then again it’s a bunch of girls half naked playing with guns, I wasn’t exactly complaining for 1 and a half hours.

So one thing is for sure, and that is we are going to get a scarily dark, gritty and realistic version of Superman. I totally love these type of films, I just love a dark and gritty film when done right, and in this case, it seems fitting, since it is quite a dark origin story, and his superpowers would be a burden in the real world. One thing I am excited about with this trailer is the CGI and effects, they look pretty amazing and I think we’re in for some large scale explosions to go with the drama. Gonna be sick.

Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

936full-safety-not-guaranteed-screenshotRoze-Rating: 4.5 / 5

Safety Not Guaranteed follows two interns and their superior on a work related journey to the seaside to investigate a newspaper add which states that a man is looking for a partner to travel back in time with. At first the three Seattle magazine employees are apprehensive about the man and expect the reality to match their cynical views, but as they get deeper into the man’s life they find themselves second guessing themselves.

This film is truly something special and out of all the films that I’ve seen this year, Safety Not Guaranteed is definitely the most genuine and real. There’s been quite a few films that share a similar tone as this but doesn’t quite make the mark and that’s purely because they lack heart. This film explores the strength of belief, youth and how your past can haunt you. There are numerous scenes which exude these themes simply from an awesome soundtrack and down to earth movie clips. Without the playlist the whole tone and indie feel of the film would be lost, and it’s honestly one of the best playlist I’ve ever heard for a film, it’s just perfect. It’s weird how much music can bring out emotion from a film scene, but it totally works.

The cast is awesome, it’s nice to see comedy series stars on the big screen. Mark Duplass and Jake M. Johnson completely surprised me with their performances, cementing their places as big time film stars. There’s also a pleasant quirky performance from Aubrey Plaza which will just make you smile uncontrollably. Definitely looking forward to any of their future films.

It’s definitely a feel good film, and it really tells you to cherish your youth and to cherish anything because one day they may disappear for no reason at all. I particularly liked the scene where Jeff tells Arnau to man up, get off his ass and start living because your only 21 once, it’s so true and the scenes that follow will just make you smile like you just discovered your first boner (if your a guy), Inspired film with genuine intentions and good laughs, perfect if your feeling down and need a pick me up.


End of Watch (2012)

End-of-Watch_05Roze-Rating: 5 / 5

The film follows the journey of two LA police officers to fame. Officers Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Zavala (Michael Pena) are loyal partners who continue to impress their peers and superiors after making high status arrests and rescues. Eventually their motivation and high ambition put them on the radar of a massive drug cartel who aren’t massive fans of their hero antics having prevented them a lot of money. The story doesn’t just explore the gangster culture of LA and the dangers of police officers, but it explores brotherhood, loyalty and the heartache of their loved ones.

End of Watch offers so much, it has action, style, interesting characts, drama, it’s an all round great film that uses the found footage style appropriately. The action is extremely realistic which means it isn’t just relentless gun fights but it captures the heart thumping tension of making an arrest, really showing the unpredictability of thugs. This really aids the intentions of the film, which is to expose the reality of police officer life, which is why you get to also see the boring side of the job; paperwork. The two main characters are awesome, they are extremely likeable and they share a bond that you wont see in many films. The chemistry they share is so real that you root for these characters without thinking about it, and it makes you even more worried about each hostile encounter they face. This is thoroughly due to the great performances by Michael Pena and Jake Gyllenhaal, who keep growing on me, especially Pena who really show’s his full acting abilities. There are also some really enjoyable appearances from Anna Kendrick and America Ferrera, despite smaller roles, put in good performances.

The plot is quite simple, two cops ambition and initiative make them famous in the best and worst of ways. It literally follows them through their high status arrests until they are wanted by a massive drug cartel. I really like the way they went about filming this, using the found footage style as well as normal filming. It really helps make the film that much more realistic and puts you in the shoes of the police officers. Since everyone is familiar with the cops series and cop video’s on youtube where they film themselves from inside the car, everyone can relate and are already aware of what a cop video looks like. It makes the film a lot more gripping and grittier.

Overall awesome film with a lot of emotion, tension and grit. Definitely in the list of the greatest cop films around. You will also see a man with some real talent with the word “fuck” I wonder what his audition was like…