Tag Archives: Gerard Butler

RockNRolla (2008) Review

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RocknRolla

Time: 114 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, Offensive Language & Drug Use
Cast:
Gerard Butler as One-Two
Mark Strong as Archy
Tom Wilkinson as Lenny Cole
Toby Kebbell as Johnny Quid
Tom Hardy as Handsome Bob
Idris Elba as Mumbles
Thandie Newton as Stella
Jeremy Piven as Roman
Ludacris as Mickey
Director: Guy Ritchie

Small-time crooks One Two (Gerard Butler) and Mumbles (Idris Elba) decide to legitimately invest in some prime real estate and find themselves out of their depth and in debt to old-school London gangster Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson). Cole himself is in the middle of a business deal with a Russian gangster, but when his accountant tips off One Two and Mumbles to the details of an upcoming big-money business transaction, the two scallywags swoop in and steal the cash.

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Guy Ritchie established himself as a filmmaker to pay attention to with Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, and Snatch, both British crime comedies. RocknRolla, which was released in 2008, marked his next main gangster movie in roughly a decade, and it was quite good. It’s not as quite as good as the gangster movies that made him well known, but Ritchie is in his element here, and it’s quite entertaining for what it was.

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With the story, characters and tropes, you can definitely tell it was directed by Guy Ritchie. It’s very well written, and has some interesting characters and plenty of plot twists. It’s also quite funny, very witty, and contains plenty of hilarious dialogue. Like Snatch there are so many characters and plotlines. The story branches out then effectively ties together at the climax, which I thought was done well. With that said, the story itself was a bit weak and is definitely overcomplicated, even if I like how some of the storylines and characters tie together. The storyline involving Tom Wilkinson’s character and the Russians I particularly found a bit hard to follow. It does suffer from slow pacing and being a bit predictable at points, even if I enjoyed watching all of it. It’s not a massive criticism but a disappointment is that it really does fall into the familiar tropes that Ritchie has already fallen into with his past movies. It’s more or less the same type of films with intertwined plots and characters of all different sites, all tied together by one little thing. However, those other two movies didn’t feel messy or convoluted like it does here. RockNRolla is still funny and there’s lots of gags, though it does seem to be missing something. The ending also does feel a bit rushed. One point in difference between RockNRolla and Ritchie’s first two movies that’s not better or worse is that it’s a little darker and more grounded and realistic, certainly not as offbeat as say Snatch. Everything here is sour and shady. It’s not devoid of fun, and a lot of the dialogue is hilarious, it’s just one way it differs from those other movies.

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One consistently great thing in this movie is the great acting, there is a large cast and they all do well in their parts. Much of the cast includes Gerard Butler, Idris Elba, Tom Hardy, Thandie Newton, Mark Strong, Toby Kebbell and Tom Wilkinson, they all do a great job. In terms of standouts, for me it’s Gerard Butler, Toby Kebbell, Tom Hardy, and Mark Strong.

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Guy Ritchie takes the style that he had with Lock Stock and Snatch and combined it with his more modern filmmaking and it really paid off. The editing is always great and intertwines with the camerawork fluently. Visually, it’s surprisingly not quite as super stylised as Ritchie’s other films have been. There are some characteristic and signature camera tricks of his, especially towards the end of the movie. However for the most part, it plays more like an ordinary gangster action film. Nonetheless it works. The soundtrack is great too and is utilised perfectly.

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RockNRolla wasn’t quite a return to form for Guy Ritchie even with it being within the genre that he’s known for, but it’s still a very enjoyable British crime flick. The characters are interesting, the acting is great from everyone, it’s funny, and it’s very stylish and generally entertaining. If you liked Snatch, or Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, or really any other British gangster comedy thrillers, then it’s worth checking out for sure. RockNRolla had a sequel-bait ending and for all of my issues with the movie, I actually did wish that Ritchie made a follow up, because there was really a lot of potential there.

300 (2006) Review

Time: 117 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] contains graphic violence
Cast:
Gerard Butler as Leonidas
David Wenham as Dilios
Lena Headey as Queen Gorgo
Giovanni Cimmino as Pleistarchus
Dominic West as Theron
Director: Zack Snyder

In 480 B.C. a state of war exists between Persia, led by King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), and Greece. At the Battle of Thermopylae, Leonidas (Gerard Butler), king of the Greek city state of Sparta, leads his badly outnumbered warriors against the massive Persian army. Though certain death awaits the Spartans, their sacrifice inspires all of Greece to unite against their common enemy.

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While Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead was really well received, the movie that really got him particularly noticed and put him on the map as a director to watch was 300. His visual style and direction was fantastic, and all around 300 is a very enjoyable movie. Although some of its aspects don’t hold up well over a decade later, there’s enough here to keep you really engaged and entertained.

300 is based off the graphic novel of the same name by Frank Miller (which I haven’t read myself). This movie is quite straightforward and simple: lead character Leonidas leads 300 Spartans against the Persian Army. Not to say that this movie is any lesser because of this, really it’s all done rather well. Despite the amount of scenes filled with screaming and exposed muscular men stabbing each other repeatedly, it’s not just a shallow and violent movie, it does have some emotion and drama behind it, so that you care about what’s going on, instead of just watching a bloodfest.

The acting generally is quite good. Gerard Butler was well suited for his role of King Leonidas. His performance of course does have some ham to it (I don’t even need to get into the “This is Sparta” bit) but it really works for the movie, and just makes it more entertaining. It’s undoubtedly a very memorable performance and it was perfect for what it needed to be. Lena Headey was also great in her screentime as Queen Gorgo. Apparently in the comic book, Gorgo only appeared in the beginning and in the movie they expanded her role much more. While she’s not in large battle scenes like Leonidas and the Spartans, she still gets to play a part in the story, and Headey of course plays it all really well. Rodrigo Santoro was a good villain, he’s quite larger than life but something about his performance works for his character (given that he believes he’s a god), and he’s really effective as a hateable character. Other supporting actors like David Wenham and Michael Fassbender also good, and get to shine in some particular moments.

Zack Snyder is known for his visual style and storytelling and watching 300 it’s no wonder that this is what really put him on the map as a director to pay attention to. It makes sense knowing that this is based off of a graphic novel, but there are many shots and sequences that look straight out of a comic book (which is something that Snyder does quite a lot). The cinematography by Larry Fong is beautiful and just stunning to look at. The action is so gratifying and really entertaining, definitely one of the most stand out and iconic aspects of the movie. I think Snyder does use slow-mo a little too much but I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it. It was the first movie to really utilise it as a very present component of the action (outside of The Matrix), before way too many movies tried to replicate that and not doing it as well. This movie is very violent and bloody, and it’s stylised and once again made to look like it was from a comic book. I will say that parts of the movie don’t hold up, that being the green and blue screen in some scenes, which occasionally can look really fake and does take you out of the movie briefly. This movie admittedly does have some messy parts to it but the other aspects (especially on the technical side) make up for it. The soundtrack by Tyler Bates only increased the epicness and scale of the whole movie.

300 is visually stunning, entertaining and quite good all round. I wouldn’t consider it one of Zack Snyder’s best but it’s still a pretty good movie. There’s not denying that it was defining for it’s time and really inspired the way that future action movies would be directed (for better and for worse). If you haven’t seen it yet, I’d personally recommend watching it for the visuals at the very least.

Angel Has Fallen (2019) Review

Time: 121 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence & offensive language
Cast:
Gerard Butler as United States Secret Service agent Mike Banning
Morgan Freeman as President Allan Trumbull
Danny Huston as Wade Jennings
Michael Landes as Sam Wilcox
Tim Blake Nelson as Vice President Martin Kirby
Nick Nolte as Clay Banning
Piper Perabo as Leah Banning
Jada Pinkett Smith as FBI Agent Helen Thompson
Lance Reddick as Secret Service Director David Gentry
Director: Ric Roman Waugh

Authorities take Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) into custody for the failed assassination attempt of U.S. President Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman). After escaping from his captors, Banning must evade the FBI and his own agency to find the real threat to the president. Desperate to uncover the truth, he soon turns to unlikely allies to help clear his name and save the country from imminent danger.

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I really liked Olympus Has Fallen, it was a throwback to R rated action movies from the 80s like Die Hard and it was entertaining for what it was. I even thought London Has Fallen was okay enough, a noticeable step down from the first movie but I found some enjoyment in it. However I wasn’t exactly really excited for the follow up with Angel Has Fallen. Along with the second movie taking a noticeable drop in quality already, the new plot was quite different from the past two movies, and I was getting Taken 3 vibes from the third instalment, and that’s never a good sign. Having watched it, I can say that it was some dumb fun for 2 hours, probably a little better than I expected it to be.

Angel Has Fallen is another over the top action flick, with a plot that you’ve seen many times before and done better. It’s a different plot from what you’d expect from a movie in this series. This time its Gerard Butler’s Mike Banning being on the run after being falsely accused of trying to kill the president. The sudden change in the type of plot seems pointless but I guess it was a better decision then just doing the past two movies set in different cities. It’s rather predictable in plot and you can get a general idea of where it’s going pretty early on. For example there’s a shadowy secret villain presented during the movie, and it’s pretty easy to figure out who it is just through process of elimination. Still, it isn’t too much of a problem once you’re 30 minutes into it. Something that’s interesting is that they almost took like a Skyfall sort of approach with regards to how they treat the main character (if you know what I mean), I guess that’s at least something different that they’re doing with this movie in the series but it doesn’t add up to much really. Side note but for some reason it has a mid credits scene as a joke, and I don’t know why they included it.

Gerard Butler once again does pretty well as Mike Banning, he’s got a handle on this character as his go to action role. Seeing as how this is the third time he’s played him and he’s probably going to reprise his role multiple times, it’s working out for him. Morgan Freeman acts like Morgan Freeman here, he doesn’t even get much to do, despite being the president this time, he’s out of commission for most of the runtime. Nick Nolte plays Butler’s father and he was a standout in the movie whenever he was on screen. Danny Huston makes for a decent villain, his character is pretty one note and nothing special at all, but Huston elevates the role just a bit with his performance. Side note, no, Aaron Eckhart’s character who was the president in the previous two movies doesn’t appear here or isn’t even acknowledged, not a big deal but it was a little weird not having even a mention of him.

The direction by Ric Roman Waugh was fine for a standard action movie. The action is pretty standard but still entertaining. It’s nothing special and the action scenarios aren’t as extravagant as the previous movies, but on the other hand it’s didn’t fall into feeling a little lazy like London Has Fallen did at some point. Some of the CGI was pretty bad at times and could be a little distracting (mainly an early scene involving drones), but I’ve seen much worse.

Angel Has Fallen was what I expected, familiar, generic and pretty silly, but still entertaining enough for what it is. If you liked the other movies in the series then check it out for sure, you’ll no doubt have some fun with it. Otherwise you’re probably not going to get anything out of the third movie. If you haven’t watched the other movies and you’re still interested in it, you can jump right into this with no problem. Recently it was announced that there would be more movies in the Mike Banning/Has Fallen series. While I’m not overly enthusiastic by that proposition, I don’t mind it, they provide some brief entertainment for what they are.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) Review

Time: 104 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence
Cast:
Jay Baruchel as Hiccup
Cate Blanchett as Valka
Craig Ferguson as Gobber the Belch
America Ferrera as Astrid
Jonah Hill as Snotlout Jorgenson
Kit Harington as Eret
Justin Rupple and Kristen Wiig as Tuffnut and Ruffnut Thorston
Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Fishlegs Ingerman
F. Murray Abraham as Grimmel
Gerard Butler as Stoick the Vast (in flashbacks)
Director: Dean DeBlois

When Toothless gets drawn away by the sudden and inexplicable appearance of female Lightfury and a new threat finds their way into Hiccup’s crowded dragon utopia, both human and dragon alike are prompted to begin a search for the mythical ancestral home of dragons: a hidden world thought to exist only in myth. A tale of friendship, fate, and ultimately letting go.

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I really like the How to Train Your Dragon movies. The first movie, while not accurate to the books, was pretty good, very well animated and had a good story. I also remember How to Train Your Dragon 2 being my favourite animated movie of 2014, surprisingly really great and way deeper than I thought it would be. So naturally I was interested in the third movie, which would end up being the first 2019 movie I’ve seen so far. While it’s not as good as the second movie, The Hidden World is a satisfying end to the trilogy.

Something about the second movie that surprised to me was that it was darker and took on more serious themes. The Hidden World on the other hand is a much more lighthearted movie. With that, it’s good but doesn’t quite achieve the same levels of complexity as the second movie. There isn’t much character development beyond Hiccup’s arc, really there’s nothing special to say about the characters outside of Hiccup. Plotwise, it is the weakest of the 3 and is more simple in comparison. While the second movie stuck with me more, the third movie still worked for what it is. It does go for more cutesy moments, especially with the moments with Toothless and Light Fury (the female white Night Fury that Toothless forms a romance with), but is genuinely sweet and heartfelt throughout. Many moments are probably appealing to kids but it doesn’t feel forced at all. Really I liked this movie throughout. The Hidden World also ends the series on a good note, it doesn’t seem like they’ll be doing any more movies after this and I don’t think it should, it’s the perfect ending for all these stories.

The surviving characters from the second movie all return and while not all of them worked greatly, they all still had their part in the story, even if Hiccup is really the only character who gets a ton of development. The returning voice cast with Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Kit Harington, Justin Rupple, Kristen Wiig and Christopher Mintz-Plasse are all good once again. The villain of the movie (voiced by F. Murray Abraham) is a pretty standard villain honestly and could be substituted by any regular villain but he’s alright enough at being a threat to the main characters.

The level of the animation is the most consistent part with all 3 movies. The Hidden World is just as well animated as the other two, if not more. It, just like the previous two, is directed by Dean DeBlois. It’s a very colourful and visually stunning movie, and it particularly shines when it involves the dragons flying. Everything from the characters, dragons, backgrounds and everything else were animated perfectly.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is not at the level of the second movie, but its good. It’s entertaining, light hearted and fun throughout. If you liked the previous How to Train Your Dragon movies, you’ll definitely like this movie, and was a solid conclusion to a really good animation trilogy.

Gods of Egypt (2016) Review

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Gods of Egypt

Time: 126 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Horus
Brenton Thwaites as Bek
Gerard Butler as Set
Chadwick Boseman as Thoth
Élodie Yung as Hathor
Courtney Eaton as Zaya
Rufus Sewell as Urshu
Geoffrey Rush as Ra
Director: Alex Proyas

The survival of mankind hangs in the balance when Set (Gerard Butler), the merciless god of darkness, usurps Egypt’s throne and plunges the prosperous empire into chaos and conflict. Hoping to save the world and rescue his true love, a defiant mortal named Bek (Brenton Thwaites) forms an unlikely alliance with the powerful god Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). Their battle against Set and his henchmen takes them into the afterlife and across the heavens for an epic confrontation.

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Since its release, Gods of Egypt has been panned, absolutely everyone has been trashing it and calling it one of the worst films of 2016. So naturally I was curious and wanted to check it out. While others despised the movie, I personally enjoyed it, but for all the wrong reasons. It really will surprise you how bad it this movie gets, from terrible green screen and CGI, to an uninteresting and familiar story. This film doesn’t work at all. Aside from the unintentionally hilarious aspects and two of the performances, Gods of Egypt pretty much fails on every level. I almost recommend seeing it.

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The story itself isn’t really interesting at all. We’ve all seen this story and types of characters many times over, there’s nothing to really comment on. I’m finding it difficult to remember much about the plot itself. The only reason this film works in a bad way is the way they try to execute this movie. They make the film so over the top, it’s kind of a glorious trainwreck to watch. The dialogue is really bad, awkward and clunky, the romance in the movie you don’t buy at all and there is also some humour which seems really off (which is funny but not because it’s done well, it’s funny because it was so horribly and awkwardly done). Pretty much almost nothing about this film works at all.

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Hands down the best part of the movie is Gerald Butler and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Gerald chews up the scenery as the villain and looks like he’s enjoying every second he’s on screen. Nikolaj at times looks like he’s genuinely trying to give a good performance, despite the bad material he’s given. Everyone else is forgettable, granted they didn’t have a whole lot to work with. Even some of the really good actors like Chadwick Boseman and Geoffrey Rush don’t really come away with anything. I think it is worth noting that there aren’t any Egyptian actors in this film, Gods of Egypt didn’t have any Egyptians. Not really a flaw with the performances, just thought it was worth pointing out.

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The green screen and action scenes were done absolutely horribly. Think of how out of place the green screen was in the Star Wars prequels. Only it’s 5 times worse. You can clearly see where the green/blue screen is around the actors, its kind of embarrassing. Same with the CGI, nothing feels natural. And as for the action scenes, there is so much slow mo and camera rotations used, it’s crazy. It tries to make it look epic but it ends up looking ridiculous, over the top and amateur. It’s weird because the director of Gods of Egypt made The Crow, which didn’t use a lot of CGI but still I don’t see how he could’ve made both films.

Undated Film Still Handout from Gods of Egypt. See PA Feature FILM Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Entertainment One. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Reviews.

I didn’t give it my lowest score as I enjoyed this movie as a so-bad-it’s-good movie and Gerald Butler and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau were actually good in the movie. But it’s still so far the worst movie I’ve seen this year, with the awful CGI, greenscreen and action scenes, the mostly mediocre performances and a cliché story. Gods of Egypt really is the Jupiter Ascending of 2016. However, if you like so bad it’s good movies, you should definitely check this out when you can. This film is definitely one to remember, for all the wrong reasons.