Friday, 28 March 2014

The Godfather Movie Review

The Godfather movie review

Director: Francis Ford Coppola

First Release Date: 24th March 1972 (US)

Running Time: 175 minutes 

Starring: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Richard S. Castellano

If you have not heard of "The Godfather" then you will have to question your love for films.  However, saying that, it has taken ourselves at M+F Reviews until 2014 to watch one of the most critically acclaimed movies of all time.  Admittedly this is poor on our part, yet it is a long film with a run time just short of three hours long, you certainly need a long evening to watch it. Classed and described as the film that changed cinema and reinvented ways that the mafia and mob are portrayed in films, "The Godfather" most definitely is the Godfather to these types of film. 

The film centers around the Corleone family in New York.  Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) is the Don of this crime family, which is one of five mafia crime families.  His youngest son, Michael (Al Pacino) insists he does not want anything to do with the family and its crime related antics and he in enlisted in the Marine Corps.  However, this soon changes when Vito is targeted by the rival families.  As the Corleone's face challenges to their power from all over they must use their wit to survive and remain on top. 

Movie review of The Godfather

One key aspect to the success of "The Godfather" are the characters.  The film is based on the novel also named The Godfather and a lot of credit has to be put down to this. However, we often seen adaptations of books on the big screen and they fail to live up to the expectation and prestige of how they appear in the book.  The good thing is, "The Godfather" is different from the norm. The presence of the characters on screen is spot on and there are no faults with them.  What's striking about the movie is the actors who play the characters are also an incredible match. You do not question them at all throughout the film. This is not just in reference to the main characters of the film like Vito and Michael but even down to the supporting cast, "The Godfather" excels. 

A film of this magnitude, of course has a superstar cast.  Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall and Diane Keaton to name only a handful. Each of these provide incredible authentic performances that match the feel of the film.  Whether they are portraying a more intelligent character like Al Pacino's Michael or whether it is one of his love interests Kay, played by Diane Keaton, they are superb.  The interlinking between the cast's characters is flawless and is a pleasure to watch.

Review, rating, trailer and photos of The Godfather

Even more impressive about "The Godfather" is the relatively slow paced rhythm to the film. Nothing is rushed, scenes are eased out and extended adding to whatever emotion or feeling is being felt or expressed at the time. It is this excellent directing and acting that really brings the movie to life. For a moment you are watching a film but it feels so real. The usual quick paced feel to a film is gone and you are living the events that occur in real time.

"The Godfather", which is now over forty years old remains a pinnacle in the film and movie industry.  It set up a benchmark which is hard for any film to match. Its influence can be seen in movies made all over the world. The directing, acting, characters, screenplay and dialogue mix together to make a film that is perfectly rounded.  It is entertaining, exciting and a pleasure to watch. A definite must for all film fans.

M+F Rating: 9/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Almost Married Movie Review

Movie review of Almost Married starring Phillip McGinley and Emily Atack

Director: Ben Cookson

First Release Date: 28th March 2014 (UK)

Running Time: 97 minutes 

Starring: Philip McGinley, Emily Atack, Bill Fellows, Mark Stobbart, Lynne Wilmot

"Almost Married" is a British comedy written and directed by Ben Cookson who spent three years on the film.  The comedy in the movie is very sex orientated and the film can be described as a grown up "The Inbetweeners Movie" (2011) meets a British "The Hangover" (2009) movie. This film has the ground work to be a real surprise but ultimately falls short only providing some comedy in awkward sex related dialogue. 

Kyle (Philip McGinley) is soon to be married with his fiance Lydia (Emily Atack).  However, after a wild stag-do  with his best friend Jarvis (Mark Stobbart), it becomes apparent that he has contracted a sexually transmitted disease. Adamant that he was unfaithful, Kyle has to do what he can to try and avoid being intimate with his fiance for three months; which includes his wedding night without letting on about his secret. 

The story for the film is typical of a comedy of this nature.  It is set up in a very familiar way and plays it safe in doing so.  A few flashes of nudity and 'banter' between the two main characters provide the comedy moments in the film and much of this is gritty.  Throughout there is a shady feel to the film from the over-the-top and unnecessary sexual puns, references and innuendos. The story of the film is nearly executed very well.  It has the base story line for a for a decent comedy film - however, it is unable to achieve this and stumbles in trying to do so. 

Movie review of Almost Married.

Overall the cast give okay performances.  The best parts of the film is when the majority of the characters come together for group scenes. The parents of both of the characters provide a different source of comedy which is more relateable to most of the audience compared to the failed humour that bounces around the main three characters. The introduction to the older characters bring stability to the film and storyline and it is unfortunate they did not feature more.  Kyle and Lydia's fathers, played by Smug Roberts and Bill Fellows respectively, give the best performances out of those involved despite there short screen time.

"Almost Married" gets caught in using the cheap comedy that its topic revolves around. It relies heavily on this content to provide the funnier moments of the film rather than the character interactions and dialect.  Despite this, there are parts of the film that will have you laughing and the film is able to keep some plot twists from becoming obvious.  If you are a fan of "The Inbetweeners" then this comedy is definitely one for you with similar humour.  No real attachment can be made from the audience to the film and throughout the majority of the movie you will question many aspects; as it does not feel quite right. The comedy being used, does not match up with the characters.  It gives the film more of a sense of immaturity.  Sure, some scenes will make you laugh, but it will be short lived and at the end you will feel rather unsatisfied. 

M+F Rating: 4/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The Fifth Estate Movie Review

The Fifth Estate movie review, rating, trailer and photos.

Director: Bill Condon

First Release Date: 11th October 2013 (UK)

Running Time: 128 minutes

 Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Brühl, David Thewlis, Stanley Tucci, Peter Capaldi, Alicia Vikander, Laura Linney, Anthony Mackie

"The Fifth Estate" is a film based on  real events - the 'information revolution' of the 21st Century.  It's story and content is based lossely on two books both published in 2011; Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange and the World's Most Dangerous Website by Domscheit-Berg and WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy by David Leigh and Luke Harding.  It stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange, the man behind the WikiLeaks website and also Daniel Brühl, David Thewlis, Stanley Tucci and Laura Linney.

The film centers around journalist Daniel Berg (Brühl). From his first encounter with Julian Assange (Cumberbatch) to the stories and secrets they revealed via WikiLeaks.  Daniel finds himself caught up in a whirlwind of activism for freedom of information.  As time goes on, cracks can be seen to form in his relationship with Julian as he finds himself in over his head going up against the biggest and most powerful governments of the time. 

Movie review of the Fifth Estate - a film about Julian Assange and WikiLeaks

Half of the aspects of "The Fifth Estate" are excellent however the other half ruin the film. It is a real mix of good and bad but despite this is still a relatively okay film overall.  For anyone who has followed the news the last few years will be familiar with the story and rise of WikiLeaks - a non-profit organisation that uploads secrets, news leaks and classified truths from anonymous 'whistle blowers'.  This movie depicts to the full extent the major stories and cover-ups that WikiLeaks has leaked.  It is filled with basic content of the countless leaks they made available to the world. 

"The Fifth Estate" features a relatively well known cast but the one stand out is Cumberbatch.  With dyed white hair and an Australian accent, Cumberbatch is Assange.  He portrays Assange's, mannerisms perfectly and is extremely convincing in the title role.  Without Cumberbatch, "The Fifth Estate" would have petered out into nothing.  He really is the driving force behind any success or positive reaction that the film gains. 

The other well known actors are all okay. However, they do fall into the shadows, cast by Cumberbatch's performance.  Brühl is good as Daniel Berg and the supporting cast including Thewlis, Linney, Tucci and Peter Calpaldi are all solid but far from amazing.  In this film they define the word 'supporting'.  Not one stands out or affects the overall outcome of the film from their own performance.  

Movie review of The Fifth Estate starring Cumberbatch, Bruhl, Thewlis, Capaldi, Tucci and Linney.

It is the look, feel and directing of "The Fifth Estate" where it ultimately falls down. The content is there albeit very consuming, however director Bill Condon does well to make this understandable for the audience.  The problem is that in a way there is too much content - it does not allow for any real story or drama to occur or take place.  It is based on two books so does has room to maneuver in a story that could grab and pull the audience in yet it sticks to the rather risk-less portrayal of event after event (this happened, then this happened and so on ).  When thought about and understood in this manner "The Fifth Estate" is not a good film at all.  There seemed to be no effort to make it into an exciting film - in fact you could go as far to say this would have been better as a documentary rather than a movie. 

"The Fifth Estate" is an interesting film in two ways; firstly, the content is relatively engaging and engrossing, secondly it really is difficult to work out your own feelings about the film.  On the one hand, you have an excellent performance from Cumberbatch that is unmatched by anyone else on set, but then the general direction of the film really lets it down.  Saying this, the film is still above average but this is down rather to the true story content that the film depicts from the two books it is loosely based upon. "The Fifth Estate" is an okay film that is far from excellent. It is spearheaded by the sublime performance from Cumberbatch but with below average direction the movie equates to nothing more than a content filled, drama lacking movie. 

M+F Rating: 6/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Casino Movie Review

Movie review of Martin Scorsese's Casino starring Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci

Director: Martin Scorsese

First Release Date: 22nd November 1995 (US)

Running Time: 178 minutes 

Starring: Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Sharon Stone, James Woods

"Casino" is a 1995 Martin Scorsese classic. The film has Scorsese written all over it from the script, screenplay and filming style used. Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci star is this highly entertaining and quick-witted movie. 

In a time where Las Vegas is ran by gang criminals, Sam 'Ace' Rothstein (De Niro) and Nicky (Pesci), work there way into the Las Vegas scene. The gang bosses can't go to Vegas themselves so use others to filter money out. With a changing job title to avoid getting caught, Ace is the effective owner of the Tangiers Casino and is successful at doing so. Nicky has his own way of doing things and with the FBI on the prowl and Ace's wife, Ginger (Stone) very unstable, the whole mob world starts to collapse around them both. 

Movie review, trailer, rating and photos of Casino movie.

The film blasts off and captures the audience straight away.  Within minutes, events in the film engage the audience.  The movie then plays through events that lead to the beginning scene before venturing past that event. Much of "Casino" is portrayed through voice-overs by the two main characters Ace and Nicky. This way of story telling works very well in the setting that Scorsese sets up.  By providing this explanation via narration from the characters themselves, it gives the movie an alternate dimension.  It gives them a chance to explain what they are doing and the reasons why.  This is needed in a film that is just shy of three hours long and features an extensive cast with many characters and interlocking plot lines.

It is impossible to argue that De Niro and Pesci do not carry the film. As always in Scorsese movies, the general cast are great but like with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill in the more recent "The Wolf of Wall Street" (2013), De Niro and Pesci steal the show.  Having worked with Scorsese before, both De Niro and Pesci were able to overcome the feel of familiarity and are able to make this film feel fresh and exciting.  It feels wrong to have an insight and to feel part of how the mob infiltrated Las Vegas yet so right at the same time. 

Martin Scorsese's Casino movie review

"Casino" features a great deal of violence which is at times over the top, however this is true to Scorsese's style.  Combined with the violence is the intricate story of ultimately three characters lives as they do living and at times this works well together but on the other hand they clash.  De Niro plays his character perfectly. Powerful yet so quiet and calm.  This portrays a character that holds an incredible screen presence. Pesci's character is rather different. Brash, tough and seemingly less clever, Nicky provides the more humorous scenes that make the movie even more enjoyable.

"Casino" is definitely a film that people can enjoy.  It may be a bit too graphic for some, however that does not make it a bad film by any means.  It is crafted cleverly in a way that makes an intricate movie through Scorsese's own special way of film-making.  It takes the time it needs to piece the whole plot and character sequences together without rushing any scene.  "Casino" is a great film which contains great dialect, characters and is thoroughly entertaining.

M+F Rating: 8/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Diana Movie Review

Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel

UK Release Date: 20th September 2013

Running Time: 113 minutes 

Starring: Naomi Watts, Naveen Andrews, Cas Anvar, Geraldine James, Douglas Hodge

"Diana" is a film that was highly anticipated for one reason;  it is a movie about Diana, Princess of Wales who was tragically killed in France in 1998.  Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, "Diana" unfortunately does not do justice to the once most famous woman in the world. Despite this, the film still manages to deliver an emotional connection to the audience but even this can be attributed to the connection/remembrance to Diana herself, not the film.

The film portrays the latter years of Princess Diana's life, showing major events that occurred.  Having split from the Royal Family, Diana (Naomi Watts) looks for and finds her true love, Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews) a heart surgeon. They try to find a balance between their different lives and quite differing personalities. 

It was always going to be difficult for any director, cast and film to make a movie 'work' when it is going to be about Princess Diana.  Unfortunately, "Diana" is not a film that is a good portrayal of the final years of Diana's life or even a good film at all. Most things related to the film do not work or feel as if they fit it together in a way that allows the movie to flow.  It is jagged, empty and ultimately very disappointing.  

With this film, an opportunity was presented to make a very good film. However, the casting has to be questioned.  It is important to be clear here,  Naomi Watts is an good actress, however she does not present a good portrayal or representation of Diana. This is in all aspects.  Unless it is from distance, she does not look like Diana, neither does she sound like Diana.  Unfortunately, her mannerisms are not perfect and this makes the film feel unauthentic. This is nothing against Watts, but she was just not right for the role.  The portrayal and script also present Diana in a way that is not what we are accustomed to.  From watching the film you would think that Diana was  shallow. Hirschbiegel may be trying to over compensate her innocence but on the screen it does not come across this way. 

"Diana" generally feels odd.  The film starts slowly and rarely gets going.  It is interrupted throughout by too many scenes of silence which do not enable and storyline or plot to develop in a way that is watchable.  It rushes over important events nearer the end of her life and portrays her in a way that can only be described as degrading.  

The movie is definitely not what you wold expect before watching.  It does not inspire like a film about Diana should.  It is a poor attempt at making a film of the last few years of her life. The sole focus is on the relationships that defined her final years but even this is not done to great effect.  It is able to bring out an emotional response by the end of the film but this is limited.  "Diana" is unable to live up to the fame of the real person it portrays and turns out to be a very frustrating and discouraging movie.

M+F Rating: 4/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.