Time Lapse (2014)

Three friends, who live and manage a real estate community of apartments, discover a machine from a recently deceased tenant that takes photos 24 hrs into the future and creates a Polaroid.  The machine is pointed at the living room of the friends, from across the yard.

After discovering this, they get to figure out what its all about, the boundaries and then feel they can use this for their own personal gain.   This includes placing large illicit bets with a local underground bookie.   Of course this is going to end in tears, particularly when he gets suspicious and comes over to rough them up a bit.

The premise for the movie is fantastic.  But it isn’t really explored terribly well.  The movie was obviously shot on a very tight budget, with character development and narrative being the main vehicles.  One of the biggest issues the film producers had was sourcing the necessary quantity of Polaroid, resorting to eBay to find them,

It drags on too long with a plot that once you twig you will see coming at you in a very predictable manner.  This is one of those movies that has that straight-to-Netflix written all over it.  Watch it once you have exhausted all other items in the Netflix library.

#103 in the series

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Viewing Date
Sunday, 29th November 2015 (Orlando)

Rating
4/10

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3 Days to Kill (2014)

Kevin Costner, obviously seeing how much of an action star Liam Neeson was turning into in his later years, was wanting some of that action.   Having a script from Mr Transporter himself (

Luc Besson ) we have Costner, a older CIA agent who finds himself dying.  He decides to reconnect with his ex wife and daughter who are living in Paris.

Of course it would pretty damn dull if this was the end of the story.  Of course not, and with a page straight out of the Neeson ‘Taken’ playbook, his family gets eventually in brawled with some international terrorists.

The actually story line to be frank isn’t that great or even important.  You don’t watch the Transporter series for the multi-dimensional character development.  No, you watch it for Statham driving a fast car.

Costner, not your usual action star, puts in a great performance being the slightly older, little out of shape, CIA agent that does some pretty darn impressive action scenes.   The dialogue as you would expect, is witty and timely architected for the scenes that wrap it up.

This is not a movie that had a whole lot of box office success, which is a shame, because it was truly a little masterpiece with an orthodox lead taking the helm.  Personally I enjoyed this movie, and a even with subsequent viewings still stands up.

#78 in the series

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Viewing Date
Wednesday, 4th November 2015 (Richmond)

Rating
7/10

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Calvary (2014)

I am such a huge fan of Brendan Gleeson and for that reason I keep an eye on his output.  A lot of his movies don’t make the mainstream press and this one was no different, hopping in and out of the cinema fairly quickly.  Usually the ones that don’t make mass appeal are the one set in Ireland with a very Irish lilt to it.  The Guard for example falls into this bucket as do many others that will pop up in this review series later on.

The setup for the movie is established in the first scene.  Gleeson plays a local preacher who is receiving confession from someone who states he is going to be murdered in a few days to atone for the sins of the church.   Gleeson is a good natured priest who tends to his parish as best as possible while they all deal with their sins.

He isn’t as stressed about this information as you may think, with him maybe taking solace that this may be a higher powers will and he is being tested.  So he travels around his parish, helping his parishioners through their sins while trying to determine which one of them has issued the threat to kill him.

As with The Guard, the humor in this movie is black.  In other words, guilty laughter is willed throughout the story.

Gleeson’s son (Domhnall Gleeson of About Time fame) pops up as one of those he visits.  Must have been strange as well as an honor to act as well as they both did off one another, father and son.

This movie I think is a little better than the The Guard, but it is a close call.  Gleeson plays that worn out, pragmatic priest to perfection and given some great lines that are delivered in that dead pan, mater of fact manner.

Father James Lavelle: I’ve always felt there’s something inherently psychopathic about joining the army in peace time, as far as I’m concerned people join the army to find out what its like to kill someone. I hardly think that’s an inclination that should be encouraged in modern society, do you?

Calvary is a great movie that wouldn’t have worked without the cast chosen.  It is a movie that has a wonderful repeat-ability with you gaining a little more from each viewing.  Take it for a spin, and if you all in love with it, then check out the The Guard.

#76 in the series

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Viewing Date
Monday, 2nd November 2015 (Richmond)

Rating
9/10

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Plastic (2014)

I will confess that this one was an impulse watch on Netflix.  Sometimes the odd gem pops up on Netflix that missed all the usual marketing hype.  This isn’t one of them.

Here we have a bunch of college students, who are apt at acquiring credit cards through fair means or foul and then spending on them before the card is canceled.  Sometimes a good cast can make a bad story good, but even here, we have a B-players simply turning up and reading their lines.  You have enough faces here that you think, where have I seen him before?

Ed Speleers (from Downton Abbey), 

Alfie Allen (from Game of Thrones),

Will Poulter (from We’re the Millers) and 

Emma Rigby (from Hollyoaks) all providing the central gang members.  There is no dynamics between them, nothing that would make you want to root for them.

Of course, inevitably they run a foul of the local gangster who tasks them for acquiring a huge haul of money in a very short space of time or be killed.  They have a bright idea, of heading over to Miami in Florida (by the way the movie is set in London by in large).   They look to suck dry the credit cards of the big whales that have been identified for their heavy spending.

That all goes wrong in the usual predictability that has you rolling your eyes so they turn their attention to acquire diamonds from a local deal, posing as a wealthy Arabian prince.  

Graham McTavish, who I can only imagine was bored between Outlander seasons, plays the diamond merchant they con to coming over to London with the diamonds.

I mean the whole thing is just stupid on so many levels, the fact I am writing this much about it, only serves as a warning to others who may find themselves going down this path unaware of the sheer futility of it.  For that reason, I am giving it my second only ever 0 out of 10 rating.

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Viewing Date
Thursday, 29th October 2015 (San Francisco, Marriott)

Rating
0/10

IMDB YouTubeTrailer

Some Kind Of Beautiful (2014)

Pierce Brosnan

Salma Hayek

Jessica Alba and

Malcolm McDowell in a single movie but I bet you haven’t heard of it.  After seeing this, I am sure each of them are quite glad this has slipped you by.  With such a beautiful cast, this romantic comedy had so much potential.

We have Mr Brosnan, playing Richard the Cambridge literary professor who teaches the classic romantics, following in his fathers footsteps Mr McDowell.   Both would be considered womanizers – don’t think twice about hopping in the sack with their students.

Enter Ms. Alba, playing Kate, the American-in-Britain-studying student who beds Richard and they finally make a long term relationship (6 months!) resulting in Kate getting pregnant.  Oops.

Arranging to meet Kate’s father in a London hotel, he bumps into Ms Hayek, Olivia, who he flirts with at the bar, but turns out to be Kate’s half sister.  Oops number 2.

So they move to America and the setup of course, that eventually Kate falls out of love with the older man and instead sets up shop with a co-worker that eventually move in together, leaving Richard to live in the guest house so they can bring up their son together.

Olivia enters the fray again, this time kindling stirrings in each other that results in them dancing around one another until the dead is done and they are in love. Except now he gets deported, for messing up his green card application.

blaaaaaaah

There are some moments of humor, the odd line, the odd setup, but they are so few and far between it isn’t worth waiting for.   There is a rather comical scene that shows off the excellent (20 year old) body of Hayek, who was 49 at the time of making this movie.  Which brings me onto the casting of this story – it is all over the place.

We have Brosnan, who is 62.  Alba who is 34, Hayek at 49, and McDowell who is 72.  It just doesn’t make sense, not even numerically but on screen it looks out of whack.  McDowell is putting on an awful Yorkshire accent to make him look more crusty than he is, and doesn’t fit the Cambridge professor archetype at all (excusing the fact playing a dad to a son only 10 years his junior!).

The trailer, if I am honest, didn’t scream ‘oh what have i missed’, so I was already underwhelmed before going into this one.  But forever the optimist I had high hopes they were holding back saving the best bits for the actual movie.  Nope.

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Viewing Date
Wednesday, 14th October 2015

Rating
4/10

IMDB YouTubeTrailer

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

How does one do justice in describing this masterpiece?  We have a multi-generational retelling of how a rather grand, gooky, hotel came into the possession of someone that started off his career as a lobby boy.

Ralph Fiennes steals the show as Mr Gustav the concierge that maintains the quality and prestige of the Budapest Hotel.  In addition to this, he takes care of his lady clients with a special attention to detail, giving them the full service and companionship they so crave. 

It is due to this special service that our story originates.  One such lady, who is in love with our Gustav, dies (or was she murdered?) and leaves him her estate, much to the chagrin of her family.  The story is then set for the romp and surreal antics that we are about to witness.

M. Gustave: She was dynamite in the sack, by the way.
Zero: …She was 84, Monsieur Gustave.
M. Gustave: Mmm, I’ve had older. When you’re young, it’s all filet steak, but as the years go by, you have to move on to the cheap cuts. Which is fine with me, because I like those. More flavorful, or so they say

The dialogue is brilliant with many a witty rant that reminds me of when Fiennes played his hard man from In Bruges.  In addition to the great screenplay, the background has a lot going on.  Keep an eye out for many a cameo and there is a great KeyStoneCop moment from Harvey Keitel.

The cinematography is beautiful, very bright and distinct colours and some wonderful sets as we get a very picture book view of their world.

This movie needs to be viewed multiple times to get a fully appreciation of all its parts.  Each viewing delivers something new.  Well worth the investment. 

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Viewing Date
Sunday, 11th October 2015

Rating
9/10

IMDB YouTubeTrailer