Tag Archives: Michael Caine

Tenet (2020) Review

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Tenet

Time: 150 minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence & offensive language
Cast:
John David Washington as the Protagonist
Robert Pattinson as Neil
Elizabeth Debicki as Kat
Dimple Kapadia as Priya
Clémence Poésy as Laura
Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Ives
Michael Caine as Sir Michael Crosby
Kenneth Branagh as Andrei Sator
Director: Christopher Nolan

A secret agent (John David Washington) embarks on a dangerous, time-bending mission to prevent the start of World War III.

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Tenet was one of my most anticipated films of 2020. It had a cast with the likes of John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki and Kenneth Branagh, the trailers looked incredible, but most of all, it was Christopher Nolan’s next film. Nolan is one of my favourite directors, an incredibly creative and visionary filmmaker, all of his movies are good, and almost all of them are at least great. However there was another layer of anticipation, with this being the first movie to be released in cinemas since March ever since the pandemic started, this was actually the first time I’ve watch a movie in theatres since February. Tenet was the movie meant to bring people back to the theatre. It lived up to all the hype and was quite an incredible experience, it’s for sure one of my favourite films from Christopher Nolan, and that’s saying a lot.

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For those worrying about spoilers, don’t worry, I won’t give anything critical away. At most I’ll refer to what was only in the trailers, which already do a good job at keeping a lot of the plot hidden. Tenet is probably Christopher Nolan’s most complex movie, and that is saying a lot. There’s a line from Clemence Poesy’s character to John David Washington’s character, “Don’t try to understand it, feel it”, and that idea is pretty much key to watching this movie. If you get too caught up with what you don’t understand, you won’t enjoy much of the rest of the movie, and will probably have a harder time getting what’s going on. The script by Christopher Nolan is fantastic, there’s a lot happening and really keeps you engaged from beginning to end, never letting go of your attention.

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At its core, Tenet is a spy and espionage movie that happens to have a science fiction element, kind of like how Inception is a heist movie. Time has played a big part in many of Nolan’s movies, with the events in Memento being played backwards, Dunkirk taking place at different time settings and over different frames of time, and even Inception and Interstellar had time playing a big role in their plots. However time is the central theme and focus of Tenet. It’s not a spoiler to say that this movie is not about time travel but rather time inversion, and for the most part I actually got on board with that concept. At first it’s a bit hard to understand it, especially earlier on where you only get a little bit of time inversion in the plot. However as the plot progresses and more is shown and revealed, you begin to understand it more, and I thought it was well handled, especially when it came to the use of exposition. There’s a specific moment layer on where there’s a lot of time inversion and I have to say I was confused as to what was going on, but again I just went with it. It’s definitely a movie that’ll probably improve on repeat viewings. I will admit that I did need to look up some ‘Tenet explained’ articles to get a grasp of some of the things that I missed as I understand more of what’s happening. However I actually understood much more of the movie than I thought I would. One criticism I have for the movie from this first viewing is that it was hard to even hear what was happening, which I’ll get into later on, but those if anything were the things that made it occasionally hard to follow what was going on. Tenet is definitely not one of Nolan’s character driven movie, despite a big cast you only learn about a few of the characters. That wasn’t a dealbreaker for me though, I was still along with the ride. Looking back at it on a whole, the more I think about the movie, the more I love it.

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There’s a great cast all around, and all of them perform really well. John David Washington plays the protagonist of the movie, who’s only referred to as ‘The Protagonist’, and he’s really great. Despite not much being known about his character, he brings such an on screen presence on his part and he carries much of the movie. Robert Pattinson was also good as an agent who works with The Protagonist, and Pattinson was particularly great alongside Washington, their on screen dynamic was very entertaining to watch. Elizabeth Debicki also gives a great performance as probably the most layered character of the movie, she’s the emotional core of the story. Kenneth Branagh plays the villain of the movie, it’s a scene chewing yet menacing performance, that really works for the movie. The rest of the supporting cast with the likes of Dimple Kapadia, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Himesh Patel, Michael Caine, and Clemence Poesy all play their parts well too.

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Christopher Nolan directs this magnificently as to be expected. Hoyte van Hoytema’s cinematography is nothing short of fantastic, it’s such a large scale movie. Nolan’s filming of action has been generally criticised (especially in the Dark Knight trilogy). I still liked them, but I can kind of see why, especially when it comes to the stunts. However, I’d say that this is by far the best action that he’s filmed (possibly even more so than Inception). The most impressive aspect of the film on a purely technical and visual level was the time inversion, with everything going in reverse, and it is much more than just reversing the film. Like every other movie he has made, his movies are filmed practically, which made so many of the sequences even more impressive. One of such moments as teased in the trailers was when a real plane was crashed, and while that certainly is a big moment, there’s far more to come which I won’t reveal. There’s so many moments that I just wondered how Nolan pulled off. The time inversion was especially impressive, and the cinematography mixed with the practical effects and stunts come together to form some unforgettable moments. This is the first time since The Dark Knight that Hans Zimmer doesn’t score a Christopher Nolan movie, instead it is Ludwig Goransson composing, and he does a fantastic job. It’s extraordinary and fits perfectly with the movie. This brings me to the sound mixing, it is a very loud movie and it can be a bit overwhelming, but it only bothers me in one particular way. As previously mentioned, I don’t have an issue with the amount of exposition in the film, it’s just that the music and a lot of the other sounds can drown out a lot of the dialogue during these moments and because of that you are sometimes left in the dark about what’s going on (and sometimes it’s simple plot points). Let’s just say that if you watched it with subtitles, you would probably understand a lot more about what is going on.

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With Tenet, Christopher Nolan has made another fresh, engaging, complex and spectacle of a film. The cast are great, I loved the plot and ideas presented, and the filmmaking is just on a whole other level. I can only see this improving upon further viewings. It’s an overwhelming and fantastic experience that is best seen in the cinema. At the same time, it’s only worth seeing this in cinemas if you feel safe and comfortable doing so right now in this moment, so if that is the case and the movie is in your area, I highly recommend seeing it.

Children of Men (2006) Review

Time: 109 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Contains violence, offensive language and drug use
Cast:
Clive Owen as Theo Faron
Julianne Moore as Julian Taylor
Clare-Hope Ashitey as Kee
Michael Caine as Jasper Palmer
Chiwetel Ejiofor as Luke
Charlie Hunnam as Patric
Pam Ferris as Miriam
Director: Alfonso Cuarón

When infertility threatens mankind with extinction and the last child born has perished, a disillusioned bureaucrat (Clive Owen) becomes the unlikely champion in the fight for the survival of Earth’s population; He must face down his own demons and protect the planet’s last remaining hope from danger.

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I’ve been meaning to rewatch Children of Men for a while. I watched it years ago and I remember myself finding it to be good. As I was watching Alfonso Cuarón’s films recently however (Roma and Y Tu Mama Tambien), I had an urge to see this movie again, just to refresh it in my mind. I’m not quite sure why I wasn’t in love with this movie when I first saw it, but Children of Men is truly spectacular. As acclaimed as the movie is, I still feel like it isn’t as appreciated as much as it should be, it needs to be talked about a lot more.

I actually didn’t know of this until recently but Children of Men is based on a book of the same name. The writing here is excellent. They really created a unique dystopian concept and made it feel and seem so real. Unlike some other sci-fi movies, much of what happens here feels very plausible, making it a very timeless and relevant film today over a decade later. At the same time, they also deliver on creating a deep and emotional story, with very real, greatly written and fully realised characters. It takes less than 10 minutes to already invest you in this world. You feel a sense of dread throughout and the stakes are high, however it’s in a way that feels genuine and human. This film is under 2 hours long and from start to finish (at least on my rewatch) I was hanging onto every single moment. I’ll even admit that the last 20 minutes of the movie had me quite emotional, Children of Men is very powerful throughout but it is particularly in this portion.

As previously mentioned, all of the characters are very well written and memorable, and the cast are all great playing their respective roles. Clive Owen gives one of his all time best performances here, if not his best. Here he’s playing a reluctant hero character of sorts, forced into getting involved with a cause bigger than himself. We’ve seen this with lead characters many times before but with the writing and Owen’s fantastic performance, it just feels so real here. Julianne Moore is really good in the screentime that she gets. Clare-Hope Ashitey is also really great as the only woman in the world who isn’t infertile and is currently pregnant, holding possibly humanity’s last remaining hope for survival. It’s also fun watching Michael Caine as a hippie character of sorts, and he too does add to the movie quite a bit. The rest of the supporting cast including Chiwetel Ejiofor and Charlie Hunnam also are great in their roles.

Alfonso Cuarón as usual directs incredibly well, and this is probably his best film to date. The story and setting already feels very plausible but add upon the fantastic production design and it really feels timeless. His work with cinematographer Emmanuelle Lubezki was spectacular, there are so many phenomenal cinematic moments, most of them featuring long tracking shots, that you just wonder how exactly they managed to shoot it. A famous example being in the first quarter of the film, featuring a very long tracking shot that takes place in a car. Another example is a very long shot following Clive Owen for a very long time towards the end of the movie, really all of it is amazing filmmaking, it’s overwhelming at times.

Children of Men isn’t just one of the best science fiction films released, it’s one of the greatest films of the 21st Century. I’m not sure why it didn’t receive more awards attention, because it really deserves it. Everything here is perfect, the characters and cast, the fully realised story and world, and the fantastic direction by Alfonso Cuarón. If you haven’t seen it yet, make sure that you see it as soon as possible, it’s a masterpiece.

Interstellar (2014) Review

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Interstellar

Time: 169 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive language
Cast:
Matthew McConaughey as Joseph Cooper
Anne Hathaway as Amelia Brand
Jessica Chastain as Murphy Cooper
John Lithgow as Donald
Michael Caine as Professor Brand
Director: Christopher Nolan

In Earth’s future, a global crop blight and second Dust Bowl are slowly rendering the planet uninhabitable. Professor Brand (Michael Caine), a brilliant NASA physicist, is working on plans to save mankind by transporting Earth’s population to a new home via a wormhole. But first, Brand must send former NASA pilot Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and a team of researchers through the wormhole and across the galaxy to find out which of three planets could be mankind’s new home.

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I can clearly remember watching Interstellar in the cinemas for the first time back in late 2014, it really was one of the best cinema experiences I’ve ever had. It was truly an incredible visual experience, Christopher Nolan had a great handle on it, and it also had a great story. It has only gotten better and better the more I’ve watched it, Christopher Nolan and his talented cast and crew created something truly incredible here.

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For some, the early portions of the film might be a little slow, it’s about half an hour before Matthew McConaughey even goes into space. Having watched it a number of times though, at this point I liked that section. When I was watching the movie for the first time, there was a lot to take in and I didn’t understand a lot of what was going on, and I had to think about a lot about what it all meant. With that said, having seen it a few times now, I’ve grasped a pretty good amount of what this movie is. This is a long watch, just under 2 hours and 50 minutes in length, making Interstellar Christopher Nolan’s longest movie to date, so you have to be ready going into it (at the same time it’s also best going in not knowing too much about the plot). Of course having seen it at least 4 times now, I’m pretty familiar with the plot and what happened. Now it is a science fiction movie and has a lot of great effects, but at its core it’s an emotional story, and I was invested in that on top of loving all the sci-fi stuff. In fact this is Nolan’s most emotionally charged film to date. I guess some of the dialogue can be more than a little heavy handed when it comes to the themes and the philosophical portions, and those parts admittedly come across as a little clunky. There’s even a moment when Anne Hathaway flat out says the main theme of the movie like halfway through, and while I get it’s important to make that main idea clear, maybe Nolan could’ve pulled back from some of that a little. However if you’re invested in this story, that won’t matter at all. The only other aspect I have issues with is one part of the ending, I’m not necessarily sure about the handling of this one part. Outside of that, I don’t have too many problems with the movie.

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Christopher Nolan once again assembles a great cast, and they all perform very well. Matthew McConaughey is great in the lead role, in one of his best performances. Ultimately his performance is what anchors the film and is central to the movie through and through. There are a couple of moments in this movie that got to me emotionally, and 95% of it is because of McConaughey’s performance. The major supporting actors with Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and Michael Caine are great in their parts, and brought their A game. There’s also Mackenzie Foy, John Lithgow, Casey Affleck, Timothee Chalamet and Wes Bentley who are good. Foy especially stands out as McConaughey’s daughter, and their scenes together earlier in the movie are great, especially as their relationship is one of the main driving forces of the movie. There’s also a robot called TARS voiced by Bill Irwin, who was a good addition to the movie. An appearance from a certain actor later on in the movie was also quite surprising and good (not saying who this actor is just for those few people who haven’t seen Interstellar in the years it has been released). I know some people have mixed feelings about his subplot, but I mostly liked it.

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This is Christopher Nolan, of course he’s going to direct this movie extremely well, even knowing that however, the level of filmmaking here is outstanding. This is Nolan’s largest scaled film to date, and you really feel it. The cinematography from Hoyte Van Hoytema is outstanding, and the visual effects are nothing short of fantastic, from the planets that the main characters go to, to space, all of it just looks stunning. The locations shown in the movie are great, and Nolan really makes the places feel believable and plausible. Hans Zimmer’s score is euphoric and really takes this movie to a completely higher level. One of Zimmer’s best scores to date, and that’s saying a lot.

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Interstellar is firmly on the list of the best science fiction films, especially in recent years. Whether or not this is his best film, this may well be Christopher Nolan’s most ambitious film to date, from the scale, the cast, the direction, to the overall story. If you somehow haven’t seen it yet, definitely watch it when you can.

The Prestige (2006) Review

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The Prestige

Time: 130 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Contains medium level violence
Cast:
Hugh Jackman as Robert Angier (The Great Danton)
Christian Bale as Alfred Borden (The Professor)
Michael Caine as John Cutter
Piper Perabo as Julia McCullough
Rebecca Hall as Sarah Borden
Scarlett Johansson as Olivia Wenscombe
David Bowie as Nikola Tesla
Andy Serkis as Mr. Alley
Director: Christopher Nolan

Period thriller set in Edwardian London where two rival magicians (Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman), partners until the tragic death of an assistant during a show, feud bitterly after one of them performs the ultimate magic trick – teleportation. His rival tries desperately to uncover the secret of his routine, experimenting with dangerous new science as his quest takes him to the brink of insanity and jeopardises the lives of everyone around the pair.

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I really liked The Prestige when I first saw it, I liked the acting, it was directed well by Christopher Nolan, and it was an interesting an twisty story. However it wasn’t like one of my favourite movies from Nolan, and I sort of just liked it. Watching it again made me love it however, and now it’s now one of my favourites films from him.

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This generally goes for every movie but especially for The Prestige, it really is worth going in not knowing too much, and in this movie it’s better not knowing anything at all. There are many twists and turns, better left to experience for yourself. The movie is driven by the rivalry between the two lead characters played by Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman, and it’s really compelling and interesting to watch. It’s also such an original movie, I’ve seen movies of people rivalling each other, and I’ve seen a couple of movies about ‘magic’, but I’ve never seen a combination between the two before. It actually may be among Nolan’s most creative movies. On a first watch it’s really good, pretty intriguing throughout. Watching the movie on a second time is better however, you know the context of what really happened and notice certain hints that you didn’t pick up the first time. Also, you’re not spending time a lot of time trying to figure out what was going on and you really appreciate some of the foreshadowing and the like.

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Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman play the lead characters Alfred Borden and Robert Angier respectively, and they are both fantastic in their parts. The two are constantly up against each other, and both effectively play complex and morally grey characters, with their conflict driving the story. Michael Caine is also great, giving one of his best performances from a Christopher Nolan movie, with this being his most active role in one of Nolan’s movies to date. Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall also do work well enough in supporting roles. David Bowie also appears in a few scenes as Nikola Tesla, and he’s great in his part. Additionally, Andy Serkis plays Tesla’s assistant, Serkis always brings something to every role that he’s in and his part in The Prestige is no exception.

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Christopher Nolan directed this movie excellently as expected, clearly having a more than adequate handling of the story. Wally Pfister’s cinematography is great, and the movie perfectly sets you in the time period. The scenes of ‘magic’ were noticeably presented very well. Many people have compared to Nolan’s work (mainly here) to the magicians like in The Prestige, and that’s definitely fitting, with his use of misdirection, focus and the like to trick the audience, at least on the first watch. The music by David Julyan is also pretty good and worked for the movie, but wasn’t particularly memorable on its own.

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The Prestige is a fantastically put together movie, intelligent, original and engaging from start to finish. Written and directed excellently by Christopher Nolan, and performed greatly by its great cast, it’s definitely worth seeing. If you’ve just watched it once, definitely find some time to watch it again.

The Last Witch Hunter (2015) Review

Time: 106 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and offensive language
Cast:
Vin Diesel as Kaulder
Rose Leslie as Chloe
Elijah Wood as Dolan 37
Michael Caine as Dolan 36
Ólafur Darri Ólafsson as Baltasar Ketola/Belial
Julie Engelbrecht as Witch Queen
Director: Breck Eisner

The modern world holds many secrets, the most astounding being that witches still live among us. Centuries ago, Kaulder (Vin Diesel) managed to slay the all-powerful Witch Queen, decimating her followers in the process. Before her death, she cursed the valiant warrior with her own immortality, separating him from his beloved wife and daughter in the afterlife. Her resurrection now threatens the survival of the human race as Kaulder, the only one of his kind remaining, faces her vengeful wrath.

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I didn’t expect anything special from The Last Witch Hunter, just a silly action fantasy starring Vin Diesel. And… that’s pretty much what I got. Aside from a pretty good performance from Rose Leslie, the most enjoyment that you’d get from The Last Witch Hunter is Vin Diesel and some of the mildly entertaining action scenes.

This film is quite predictable, the plot really isn’t anything special. A lot of the witch and other fantasy elements that you see here, you have seen many times before. The Last Witch Hunter ultimately doesn’t bring anything new to the table to the supernatural/fantasy genre, nor is it done in a unique or interesting way. It’s fairly generic to be honest and it’s not very interesting. The film doesn’t have any real surprises, the only surprise was for the worse because it didn’t really lead to anything and was completely pointless. So no, you shouldn’t go into The Last Witch Hunter for the plot.

Vin Diesel play Vin Diesel… again. He’s not a very good actor and here he acts like how he is in the other movies. If you enjoy watching Vin Diesel play himself, you’ll be fine with him here. A stand out of the movie was honestly Rose Leslie, who between this and Morgan seems to be an actress who can elevate any movie she’s in even slightly even if said movie is not that good. Elijah Wood was pretty good in his role. However the film does something with his character near the end of the movie, which ultimately ends up being pointless and really was questionable. Michael Caine has a very small role, practically a cameo. It’s a wonder why he was even cast (maybe he was paid a lot or something for his less than 5 minutes of screen time) but he seemed to enjoy being in this movie nonetheless. The villains are very boring and uninteresting, particularly the central villain. It’s just another one dimensional take over the world villain, not interesting (visually or as a character), not entertaining (not even unintentionally so), there’s really nothing to say about the villains. The acting from them wasn’t particularly good but I put that up to the writing and characters.

This movie doesn’t have the best special effects and a lot of the time it looks very fake but the action scenes are still entertaining enough. Generally the whole movie feels like a run of the mill fantasy movie, a mediocre one at that. However it is done in a way where you can turn off your brain and just enjoy watching over the top and silly action sequences.

The Last Witch Hunter isn’t a good movie but it entertained me enough. Vin Diesel was Vin Diesel, Rose Leslie was a high point of the movie (and probably the best part of the whole movie) and the action scenes while overblown and not that good were entertaining enough. The Last Witch Hunter can be an enjoyable movie, just don’t expect it to be anything more than just another Vin Diesel action flick.

Now You See Me 2 (2016) Review

Time: 129 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1]
Cast: 860940[1] Violence
Mark Ruffalo as Agent Dylan Rhodes
Jesse Eisenberg as J. Daniel Atlas
Woody Harrelson as Merritt McKinney and Chase McKinney
Dave Franco as Jack Wilder
Lizzy Caplan as Lula May
Daniel Radcliffe as Walter Mabry
Morgan Freeman as Thaddeus Bradley
Jay Chou as Li
Sanaa Lathan as Agent Natalie Austin
Michael Caine as Arthur Tressler
Director: Jon M. Chu

After fleeing from a stage show, the illusionists (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson) known as the Four Horsemen find themselves in more trouble in Macau, China. Devious tech wizard Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe) forces the infamous magicians to steal a powerful chip that can control all of the world’s computers. Meanwhile, vengeful FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) hatches his own plot against Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), the man he blames for the death of his father.

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I liked the first Now You See Me, its not great by any means but I had a fun time with it. So I had mild expectations when it comes to a sequel, it would probably be entertaining but at the same time it wasn’t really necessary, no one was begging for it to exist. Now You See Me 2 was pretty much what I expected it to be, it is around the same level of quality as the first. It’s pretty entertaining and decent but nothing much more than that.

The first movie didn’t really focus too much on The Four Horsemen, with Mark Ruffalo and Melaine Laurent being the main perspective. This time with the 2nd movie, it is from The Four Horsemen’s and Mark Ruffalo’s perspective. Like with the first movie, the plot isn’t great but it does keep your attention and for the most part it keeps you entertained from start to finish. I wasn’t really ever bored but it’s not a completely riveting plot, I was partially curious as to which direction the story was going in. It does feel like it’s just throwing twists at you, and I’m not sure how well those twists would actually hold up upon repeat viewings but I didn’t have too much issues on my first viewing. Though I have a feeling that I’d probably be able to pick some holes on a second viewing.

The previous cast returns with Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Dave Franco and others and they are still pretty entertaining. Isla Fisher wasn’t able to return for the sequel, so Lizzy Caplan ultimately took her place as the fourth horseman and she did a good job. On a slight note, it was a little rushed how they explained why Fisher wasn’t here, it’s a small aspect but its not movie breaking. One slightly annoying aspect was that in this movie, Woody Harrelson has a twin brother, which is an annoying cliché seen in many movies. He’s not as annoying as he you’d think he would end up being but he is still very distracting and pointless. It was great to see Daniel Radcliffe in a more villainous role and he actually does pull it off quite well, I’d like to see him more in this kind of role. Other actors like Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine are nice to see return.

The direction was decent enough. Whereas the original was directed by Louis Leterrier, the sequel was directed by Jon M. Chu and it was about at the same level. Honestly had I not known this prior to watching the movie I probably wouldn’t be able to tell that the two movies were directed by different people, I wouldn’t have noticed it myself. It is quite entertaining to watch the characters perform magic, and that’s an area that the movie really shines in.

As someone who thoroughly enjoyed the first Now You See Me for what it was, I really enjoyed the sequel. I liked seeing these actors here, I was entertained by what was going on, I overall had a good time. This is an entertaining movie but I don’t think I would call it a good movie. If you don’t like the original Now You See Me, you won’t like the sequel, there’s nothing really here that’s going to change your mind. I heard there is going to be a third movie in the franchise, again, its unnecessary but I wouldn’t mind watching it if it actually ends up happening.

Now You See Me (2013) Review

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Now You See Me

Time: 115 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Jesse Eisenberg as J. Daniel “Danny” Atlas
Mark Ruffalo as Dylan Rhodes
Woody Harrelson as Merritt McKinney
Isla Fisher as Henley Reeves
Dave Franco as Jack Wilder
Mélanie Laurent as Alma Dray
Morgan Freeman as Thaddeus Bradley
Michael Caine as Arthur Tressler
Director: Louis Leterrier

Charismatic magician Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) leads a team of talented illusionists called the Four Horsemen. Atlas and his comrades mesmerize audiences with a pair of amazing magic shows that drain the bank accounts of the corrupt and funnel the money to audience members. A federal agent (Mark Ruffalo) and an Interpol detective (Mélanie Laurent) intend to rein in the Horsemen before their next caper, and they turn to Thaddeus (Morgan Freeman), a famous debunker, for help.

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Now You See Me does have a pretty neat concept, that being illusionists use magic tricks to pull off heists, and it was successful enough that it spawned a sequel which should be releasing anytime soon. Was the first film good enough to warrant a sequel? I will say that Now You See Me isn’t a great film but it is at the very least an entertaining one. The acting by its huge and talented cast and the entertaining visuals and direction are a big contributing factor in this happening. The majority of the flaws lies in the writing, although not bad, are still quite notable and does distract from time to time. However this movie is just so entertaining that it’s quite easy to forget that.

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One thing I’ll emphasise about this movie is that this movie is very entertaining. The pacing is reasonably fast, and you are entertained enough to pay attention to what’s going on. It’s not even close to perfect though. For one, the plot isn’t very interesting. The only reason that I was paying attention was that I was entertained by what I was seeing, I didn’t really care about what was going on. One of the bigger problems is that this movie doesn’t have very good characterisation, especially when it comes to the main characters (played by Eisenberg, Franco, Fisher and Harrelson). We see much more from Ruffalo’s and Laurent’s point of view. While I understand that they were going for a more outsider sort of perspective, it doesn’t make us invested in our main charactrers. While they aren’t unlikable I didn’t particularly care about any of the main characters, they’re just entertaining.

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This film has a huge cast with Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Melanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and many other very talented actors. Now as I said previously, the characters don’t really have much characterisation but the actors do play them quite well. The couple of actors who stole the show for me were Jesse Eisenberg, who usually has a reputation of playing the same character (except for Lex Luthor) and while this role is similar to his performances, he manages to pull off a variation on this performance. And Woody Harrelson is playing… well Woody Harrelson again, but it surprisingly worked for the movie and he was really entertaining.

Jesse Eisenberg plays J. Daniel Atlas, part of a team of thieving illusionists, in Now You See Me. </em

This movie is very entertaining visually, it is a very well-directed movie. The film looks visually beautiful, and it’s easy to see why, since Larry Fong (Watchmen, 300) is involved with the cinematography. With this stylish direction by Louis Leterrier it’s hard not to get pulled into the movie, especially when it shows the main characters pulling off their heists.

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Despite some problems with the script, as well as some characterisation issues, I actually think that this movie is worth watching. If you’re going to see this movie, don’t expect it to be high art or anything of the sort. Go into it expecting a very enjoyable and entertaining ride with good performances, great visuals and just an overall very fun movie. I don’t think it needs a sequel but I do think that it’s good enough to have a watch.

Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015) Review

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Kingsman The Secret Service

Time: 129 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Taron Egerton as Gary “Eggsy” Unwin
Colin Firth as Harry Hart/Galahad
Samuel L. Jackson as Richmond Valentine
Mark Strong as Merlin
Michael Caine as Chester King/Arthur
Sophie Cookson as Roxy Morton
Sofia Boutella as Gazelle
Director: Matthew Vaughn

Harry Hart (Colin Firth) is the head of an elite secret spy organization called the Kingsman: The Secret Service. When he finds a regular street kid named Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Edgerton) down on his luck, he recruits him into the ultra-intense training program. Meanwhile, criminal tech mastermind Richard Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) is planning a mass genocide to wipe out certain DNA codes. When the Kingsman learn about the crime, Hart and Eggsy have to spring into action, track down the mastermind and his weapon and sift through a web of traitors to stop his plot.

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Who better to bring to the big screen an adaptation of classic comic book series The Secret Service other than Matthew Vaughn? With movies like Kick Ass and X: Men First Class among his list of successes, he’s the right person to direct this kind of film. Once again, Vaughn brings us another great movie filled with great action, hilarious moments and is all around entertaining. It has been one of the most fun times I’ve had at the movies this year.

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The film is entertaining from start to finish with never a dull moment. One thing I like is how the film is self-aware and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Kingsman is both a throwback to old spy flicks as well as parody of those movies. It also knows what tone to use each scene, sometimes it uses comedy and sometimes there really is drama, and they are used at the most suitable times and done greatly. The dialogue is also quite well written for each character, witty, snappy and funny. The final act of the movie delivers a great climax and like the rest of the movie, its well set up and written. I won’t spoil it but my favourite scene in the whole movie happens in the climax has the music of Pomp and Circumstance. That scene alone could basically sum up everyone I love about Kingsman.

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Colin Firth is excellent in this movie and it shows how versatile of an actor he is. He even did 80% of his own stunts and it really pays off here, and a good example is in the church fighting scene. Samuel L. Jackson was also entertaining as the villain, whether it be his lisp or his fear of blood, he was well cast. The cast also consists of Mark Strong and Michael Caine who are also great in their scenes. Early actors, Taron Edgerton, Sophie Cookson and Sofia Boutella are great in their roles and after watching this movie, I have a feeling that we’ll be seeing them in more movies pretty soon.

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The film is also great on a technical level. The action was very well done, and all of it so well-choreographed. One of the best action scenes takes place inside a church and it’s very well filmed. It has a lot of tracking shots, which would sound hard to pull off but Matthew Vaughn somehow succeeds in doing this. The soundtrack was well chosen, the score was well composed by Henry Jackman but the other music picks were well chosen. From the beginning with Dire Straits’s Money for Nothing to Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance, all the songs fitted perfectly to what was going on. The film is quite violent, but like with Kick Ass, Matthew Vaughn puts the violence on screen brilliantly and often times, it is quite funny. The editing is also noteworthy and puts everything together perfectly.

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Kingsman: The Secret Service is overall a very entertaining movie, if you like having a good time at the movies, this is for you. Just know that this film may not be for everyone’s tastes. I hear that it may be getting a sequel and I do hope that it is the case, I can see a new and great franchise emerging from this movie. Kingsman: The Secret Service is one of my favourite movies of 2015.

Inception (2010)

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Inception

Time: 148 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio as Cobb
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Arthur
Ellen Page as Ariadne
Marion Cotillard as Mal
Tom Hardy as Eames
Ken Watanabe as Saito
Cillian Murphy as Robert Fischer
Tom Berenger as Browning
Michael Caine as Miles
Director: Christopher Nolan

Dominic Cobb (Leonardo Dicaprio) is a skilled thief who for a living steals information and secrets from inside someone’s subconscious through their dreams. A businessman, Mr Saito (Ken Watanabe), hires him to do the impossible, plant an idea inside the head of Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy) who is about to inherent his father’s empire. In return, Cobb will be able to return home to his children. He assembles a team to do this. Cobb has to deal with his own emotions which may jeopardize the job.

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Inception is a film which combines an action blockbuster with a psychological thriller. The best person to take the idea of this movie and made it as best as they possibly could was Christopher Nolan, as shown by this movie. This movie is expertly put together and it an enthralling experience.

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Be careful of what you expect from this movie; some people hate this movie despite high reviews. Just know before watching that Inception demands your full attention; if you aren’t paying attention you may miss details on how the dreams work, Cobb’s past or very significant plot points. The film is quite complex and nearly 2 hours and 30 minutes long so you should really pay attention on your first viewing. The pacing also is slower than you might think; it isn’t just action scene after action scene. It’s also another one of those movies that does require multiple viewings. The only flaw I found in this movie is the lack of character development. Apart from Cobb, you don’t really learn that much of any of the other characters. The last hour or so for me is the best part of the movie. There is also an ambiguous ending that will either fascinate or anger you, there are many interpretations on what is may mean but overall, it was the perfect way to end this movie off.

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The film has a huge cast and Christopher Nolan makes use of every actor. Leonardo Dicaprio is really good in this movie. He plays a complex character with many secrets and you slowly see them as the film progresses and DiCaprio really conveyed them. Also great, is the fact that he and the other actors seem to act that they really know about how the dreams work – adding an authenticity to the film. Other actors like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe and Cillian Murphy also were really good. Despite most of them not having much character development, they really do work well with what they got.

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The dream sequences were incredibly filmed. Christopher Nolan is exceptional at filming action scenes because in most cases he doesn’t use CGI; he actually manages to make the action happen (Like the truck flip in The Dark Knight). One of the stand-out scenes is one where during a dream, a hallway is turning and the characters are in zero gravity; this scene didn’t used CGI and it looked so real. Hans Zimmer’s score in any movie instantly elevates it to a new level. This is no exception here and his haunting score worked best during the dream sequences and the action scenes.

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Inception is a masterpiece that was successfully crafted by Christopher Nolan. It took 10 years for him to write the story and I can really see that – the plot is so well written. This is a story that is very ambitious. Though I have really hyped it up, if you haven’t seen it, try not going in with high expectations as I heard that some people were expecting some things but didn’t get them. However I do recommend that everyone should go see this movie. It’s a fantastic representation of dreams and one of my favourite movies of all time.

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

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The Dark Knight Rises

Time: 165 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne
Gary Oldman as Jim Gordon
Tom Hardy as Bane
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Blake
Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle
Marion Cotillard as Miranda
Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth
Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox
Director: Christopher Nolan

After Batman (Christian Bale) took the fall for Harvey Dent’s murder 8 years ago after the events of The Dark Knight, Gotham is at a time of peace. However, a new force named Bane (Tom Hardy), a mercenary has arrived in Gotham and aims to take over the city and destroy it. Now that Wayne Manor has been completely rebuilt – Bruce Wayne has become almost reclusive, rarely leaving the estate. And with Bane taking over the city by force, it forces Bruce to come out of retirement to once again become the Batman.

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When people go to this movie, they shouldn’t go in expecting The Dark Knight 2. This movie’s tone was much more thoughtful and the movie’s pace is slower. It goes in depth into the idea of Batman and what Bruce Wayne will do to protect Gotham from criminals. The second time I watched this movie I noticed the tone which actually seemed much tenser than The Dark Knight. There is a real sense of intensity and suspense even when there aren’t any action scenes happening at that point. The final act is really big and has a lot of build-up to it, and has most of the action scenes in the movie in that part.

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Christian Bale, like I said with Batman Begins and The Dark Knight does a good job at playing both Bruce Wayne and Batman. One thing that should be noted is that Batman isn’t in this movie as much as the previous two movies, most of the time it is Bruce Wayne. In fact, the first time you see Batman is quite close to the middle of the movie. As with the previous movies, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman return to deliver great supporting roles. Also as with The Dark Knight, there are some new characters in the trilogy. Bane was magnificently played by Tom Hardy. When I heard that Bane was going to be the main villain of the Dark Knight Rises, I couldn’t help but think of the version in Batman and Robin. That movie made him look like a stereotypical villain’s drone that was always brain dead. Here though, Tom Hardy manages to make Bane a menacing force to be reckoned with. Like The Joker, he was always a presence, even when he wasn’t on screen. He even manages to match The Joker for the best Batman villain portrayal. Anne Hathaway was really good as Catwoman. This movie has a more realistic take on her than in Batman Returns and Hathaway did a good job portraying her. Marion Cotillard also plays a new character called Miranda who has an important part in the story, performance here is also good.

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Hans Zimmer’s score was as usual great but one thing I have noticed was the music wasn’t as big and bombastic as the previous movies. Not that it is bad; in fact it is great for the tone that this movie is going for. I said earlier that the movie’s tone was more reflective than the previous movies but it doesn’t mean the action was filmed slack, if anything the action is bigger. When Christopher Nolan films action, a lot of the action was practical and not CGI and this movie is no exception. The final act was such on a large scale it surpasses the final act of The Dark Knight.

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This movie is much quieter than the previous movie. It is more of a character study than an action movie, this isn’t Dark Knight 2. If anyone expects this to have constant action, they will be very disappointed in this movie. This is the biggest of the trilogy but is also the deepest of the trilogy as well. It is very debatable which movie is better, this or The Dark Knight. Either way, this is the fitting conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy which shall be remembered for decades to come.
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