31 July 2014

Politic-a-thon 2: Charlie Wilson's War Review

Next up in the Politic-a-thon is another film from one of my favourite script writers working today, Aaron Sorkin. This time though, instead of taking place in the West Wing, this goes into Congress and is the first film based on a real life person that Sorkin has written and, whilst I think it's the weakest of Sorkin's films, it is still a great film.

30 July 2014

Politic-A-Thon 2: Olympus Has Fallen Review

After doing so many serious dramas for this years Politic-a-Thon, I think it's time to do something different: a big bombastic action film. The one I've chosen is one of the two Die Hard in the White House films from last year, Olympus Has Fallen and out of those two films, I'd take the stupid but entertaining White House Down over this boring slog of a film any day.

29 July 2014

Politic-a-Thon 2: Dave Review

Most of the films that I've done this year for Politic-a-Thon have been really heavy films. I think it's time to go a bit lighter and take a look at a more comedic look at politics with Ivan Reitman's Dave. Now Ivan Reitman is a pretty hit and miss director, when he's good, he makes comedy classics like Ghostbusters and Stripes but when he's bad you get stuff like Kindergarten Cop and Junior. Thankfully, Dave falls into the former category, mainly due to a great script by Gary Ross and an excellent performance from Kevin Kline.

28 July 2014

Politic-a-thon 2: No Review

Going over all of the films I've covered in both Politic-a-thons, there is one area of the world, with really interesting politics, that I have consistently ignored, that being South America. This is a region of the world filled with political instability and, over the past 60 years, a large number of coups (mostly organised by the US government) and the installation of dictators. Today, I'm going to look at a film about the downfall of one of these dictatorships, more specifically, the film about the campaign to remove General Pinochet from power in Chile through a democratic vote.

27 July 2014

Politic-a-thon 2: W Review

I think it's best right now to get my thoughts on George W Bush out right now. He was an incompetent buffoon who was led into an illegal war by Cheney and Rumsfeld and is, without doubt, the worst president who has ever held that office, yes over Nixon and Reagan. With that said, I was interested to watch W. Seeing as Oliver Stone has done some really interesting political films in the past, he could be the best person to tell the story of George W Bush, instead it just feels like a wasted opportunity.

26 July 2014

Politic-a-Thon 2: Bulworth Review

Next up in the Politic-a-thon is another film about the nature of political campaigns and the destructive nature of them on the candidate, with this film focusing on the mental breakdown a candidate has when running for re-election with the film being Bulworth. Honestly, considering how prominently a left wing actor Warren Beatty is, I'm surprised I haven't come across one of his films earlier, this one in particular. In fact, I hadn't even heard of this film until the Todd in the Shadows One Hit Wonderland episode on Ghetto Superstar but, after doing some research, one of the staples of the blog-a-thon has come up again, Aaron Sorkin (I didn't even plan for another one of his films to come up, it just happened) and this is another great script he was involved with in a really good film.

Boyhood Review

Richard Linklater is probably one of the most eclectic filmmakers working today. From romance films with the Before trilogy to dark comedies with Bernie to mainstream comedies with School of Rock to twisted sci-fi films with A Scanner Darkly, there is a Linklater film out there for everyone. His major project though has been one he’s spent the last 12 years filming, Boyhood, and it’s probably the best film that Linklater has made.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Review

One of the biggest surprises in film recently for me was Rise of the Planet of the Apes. After watching the trailers for it I thought it would be a pretty bad film but instead I was greeted by a really smart, engaging summer blockbuster with a brilliant central performance by Andy Serkis as Caesar. When the sequel was announced I was excited, but the excitement waned a bit when it was announced Rupert Wyatt wouldn't direct the sequel as his strong direction is one of the things that helped Rise work as well as it did. I needn't have worried however as Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is easily better than Rise and one of the best summer blockbusters in a year of great summer blockbusters.

25 July 2014

Politic-a-Thon 2: The Special Relationship Review

Now we're onto the final part of the Peter Morgan Blair trilogy. So far we've covered the relationship between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown in The Deal, with Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen and now, with The Special Relationship, we look at probably the most important relationship Blair had in his early days, his relationship with Bill Clinton and, whilst I still think The Deal is the best one of these films, this is a very close second.

24 July 2014

Politic-a-thon 2: The Queen Review

So today is the second part of the Stephen Frears Blair trilogy with The Queen, focusing on Tony Blair's relationship with Queen Elizabeth the Second. This is the one that I had the most trepidation going into since this was the only one of the three to get a cinema release and as such, it feels like the filmmakers believed that this was the best one. In my opinion, whilst The Deal is the better film and the one that should have received a cinema release, this is still a brilliant film.

23 July 2014

Politic-a-Thon 2: The Deal Review

Next up is another bunch of films in a series, this time, what I call the Blair Trilogy, 3 films with focus on Tony Blair's relationship with major figures in his career. Today's film, The Deal, focuses on his relationship with Gordon Brown, tomorrow's film, The Queen, focuses on his relationship with Queen Elizabeth the Second and the day after is The Special Relationship, concerning his relationship with Bill Clinton. All of these films have their own benefits but, for my money, The Deal is the best of the trilogy.

22 July 2014

Politic-a-Thon 2: The Candidate Review

Overall I've done a lot of modern political films so I think it's time to go back to the classic political films so for the next two days, I'll be doing some ones from the 70s, both of which star Robert Redford, today's film, The Candidate, and All The President's Men, which will also start another set of reviews looking at Nixon's presidency. Today though is The Candidate, which I feel is one of the greatest political films ever made.

21 July 2014

Politic-A-Thon 2: Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom Review

So today, the second Politic-a-thon starts with the most recent politically themed film to come out, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom. This film is a bit tricky to talk about. Originally it was slated to be another Oscar season biopic but then, on the night of the London premiere, Nelson Mandela died turning this film into a tribute to Mandela. This puts an even greater amount of pressure onto the film. Thankfully, the film pays off and is a brilliantly executed tribute to Mandela with an outstanding central performance by Idris Elba.

16 July 2014

How To Train Your Dragon 2 Review

So this year is turning out to have one of the best summers for films in recent years. Every time I think I've seen the best big film, another one comes along that's even better, the most recent one being How To Train Your Dragon 2. Now I think How To Train Your Dragon is the best film that Dreamworks Animation has made, without the involvement of Aardman, so I had high hopes for the sequel. I am happy to say that not only were my expectations met, they were surpassed with How To Train Your Dragon 2 being one of the best animated sequels ever made.

1 July 2014

Best of 2014 Halfway Through The Year

So we're at the halfway point in the year and I think it's time to go through my top 5's for the year so far, going through my top 5 films, performances (male and female), scenes and my most anticipated for the rest of the year. Like all of my lists, these will be films that have had a UK release this year so some films released in the US last year will be included.