Tag Archives: Ned Dennehy

Guns Akimbo (2020) Review

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Guns Akimbo

Time: 95 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Graphic violence, drug use & offensive language
Cast:
Daniel Radcliffe as Miles Lee Harris
Samara Weaving as Nix Degraves
Natasha Liu Bordizzo as Nova
Ned Dennehy as Riktor
Grant Bowler as Degraves
Edwin Wright as Stanton
Rhys Darby as Glenjamin
Director: Jason Lei Howden

Miles (Daniel Radcliffe) is a video game developer who inadvertently becomes the next participant in a real-life death match that streams online. While Miles soon excels at running away from everything, that won’t help him outlast Nix (Samara Weaving), a killer at the top of her game.

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I and many people on the internet became interested in Guns Akimbo from the moment pictures behind the set of Daniel Radcliffe holding two guns while wearing a bathroom became viral. Also, I liked Daniel Radcliffe and Samara Weaving, so I was even more interested. Guns Akimbo looked to be a very over the top action comedy, so I was just going into the movie expecting that. I will say it doesn’t quite reach its fullest potential as I hoped, but I still enjoyed it.

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With this premise, of course it was going to be an over the top movie, and Guns Akimbo certainly is that and it aware of it. From the first two scenes, it really does feel kind of edgy. I have seen some movies that try to be edgy and they can really get on my nerves (something like Assassination Nation) and I completely understand if that tone really turns people off. I wasn’t a fan of it, but I tolerated it enough. Most of the movie is just Daniel Radcliffe running with guns stuck to his hands and the comedy is that he doesn’t really want to kill people for much of the movie. It does get old at a point and a little repetitive. Some of the logic by Daniel Radcliffe’s character is also a bit annoying, there are some specifically where he tries to cover up his situation of having guns fully bolted to his hands, and it just doesn’t make sense. There’s particularly a whole scene with him and his ex-girlfriend which he could’ve handled so much better. The comedy is very hit or miss, it tries hard at it though. It’s not so bad that it’s constantly cringy but a lot of the jokes don’t land. Speaking of cringe though, the writing is really not that good and is quite eye rolling at many points. The movie also does try to be something like a sort of satire and commentary about online trolls, social media and the internet today (ironic considering a certain controversy involving this movie’s director). However that aspect is just hard to take seriously, which is ironic considering that this movie is very clearly a comedy. It wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t constantly throw that in the audience’s face for much of the movie and mishandle it. Finally, for as crazy as they wanted to make the movie, the storyline itself is quite predictable and unimpressive. Side note, but this movie also tries to set up a sequel that will never happen.

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The main cast do well in their parts. Daniel Radcliffe was kind of the perfect fit for this lead role and movie, as a mild mannered geek who doesn’t want to kill people but is stuck with guns in his hands. He’s particularly great with the comedy, and he even works with the action towards the end of the movie. I for one am down for the Daniel Radcliffe taking on crazy and weird projects post Harry Potter. However it is Samara Weaving who takes the movie to another level, as the killer hunting Daniel Radcliffe down. She’s energetic, owns all of her scenes and is a clear standout despite some of the iffy writing. I just wish she was in the movie more as like a co-lead. Both Radcliffe and Weaving share great chemistry too.

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I’m not sure if I’d say I liked the direction or not, I just know that it certainly tries very hard. It is very over the top and stylised, and sometimes the style can really fail. Within the first 20 to 30 minutes you can figure out whether it is for you or not. The camera spins and rotates and moves around at times, it’s like a less hyperactive version of the Crank movies. The action itself can be quite fun at many points, especially towards the end. With that said, at times a lot of the action can be flat out ruined by some of the editing, and the action isn’t exactly particularly standout or anything.

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Guns Akimbo is not for everyone and really doesn’t succeed as well as you’d hope it would, both with the messy script and the flawed direction. However I still like the movie, it’s got some fun moments, and ultimately both Daniel Radcliffe and Samara Weaving carry it. If it looks appealing to you from the trailer, check it out for yourself. Again, you’ll figure out very early on whether it’s for you or not.

Mandy (2018) Review

Time: 121 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] contains violence
Cast:
Nicolas Cage as Red Miller
Andrea Riseborough as Mandy Bloom
Linus Roache as Jeremiah Sand
Bill Duke as Caruthers
Richard Brake as The Chemist
Ned Dennehy as Brother Swan
Olwen Fouéré as Mother Marlene
Director: Panos Cosmatos

Pacific Northwest. 1983 AD. Outsiders Red Miller (Nicolas Cage) and Mandy Bloom (Andrea Riseborough) lead a loving and peaceful existence. When their pine-scented haven is savagely destroyed by a cult led by the sadistic Jeremiah Sand (Linus Roache), Red is catapulted into a phantasmagoric journey filled with bloody vengeance and laced with fire.

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I had been looking forward to Mandy for a while, mainly because of Nicolas Cage. I do like Cage and I do think he’s a great actor but the movie itself looked good as well, from the trailer the whole look and style looked right up my alley. Even though it was being officially released online, I decided to wait in case it came to cinemas (as it was also being released in some select cinemas) as I heard it really benefits from watching it on a big screen. I didn’t even know if the theatre would come to a cinema in my city. I’m glad I waited though because watching in the cinema was one of the best experiences I’ve watched a movie in the theatre. Visually stunning and led by a perfectly crazed performance by Nicolas Cage, Mandy was one of the highlights of 2018.

Mandy is a straightforward movie with a straightforward plot, pretty much just your normal revenge story. What makes it stand out is how it is done. One of the things you really should know about Mandy before going in is that although it seems like the whole movie will be the revenge story, it actually takes a while before it happens. The movie is basically split in two halves. The first half is mainly focussed on the character of Mandy (Andrea Risebourgh), Mandy and Red (Nicolas Cage), and Jeremiah (Linus Roache) and the Children of the New Dawn. Usually a revenge movie would have the whole revenge part kick in after the first act, however with Mandy, the whole revenge part came in the second half of the movie. You do need to know that going in because otherwise you’re going to be rather bored waiting for Nicolas Cage to kill someone. I actually do like the first half, it does help set the mood and unlike most revenge movies which have one act to set up everything before disaster strikes, you get to spend more time with these characters, so that events later on would have a little more impact. The movie is 2 hours long but I can see how others would feel like its a lot longer. You just have to really have the patience for the movie. The second half kicks the pacing into high gear, as it’s really the revenge section, where Nicolas Cage goes on his revenge path and it’s just insane and entertaining. Mandy is a hard movie to pin down to a singular genre, because it’s an arthouse film, a horror film, a revenge film, it’s multiple things at once.

Nicolas Cage delivers one of his best performances here. For the first half of the movie he is pretty subdued and unassuming. In the second half however he goes into a huge Cage rage, delivering one of his craziest performances yet, and that’s saying a lot. If you’re looking for a bunch of entertaining Nicolas Cage freak out moments, you’re going to get that in the second half. However it’s not just “here’s Nicolas Cage freaking out”, his reactions actually works with the character, you aren’t just entertained by his freak outs. With that said, there are also plenty of hilarious and wonderful Nic Cage moments that some people are going to love. I can’t think of anyone else who could’ve played this role, Cage is perfect for the role. Also good is Andrea Riseborough as the titular character Mandy. She has a real presence to her and her chemistry with Nicolas Cage is believable. We don’t really learn a ton about the two characters but it’s enough. Also deserving of some praise is Linus Roache as Jeremiah Sand, the cult leader and villain of the film, his performance really worked well.

This is the first film I’ve seen by Panos Cosmatos, I know he’s previously directed a movie called Beyond the Black Rainbow but I hadn’t seen it yet. Having seen Mandy, I need to watch it soon because his direction and style is really great and one of the most distinct parts of the movie. This is a very visually stunning movie. Plenty of people have described this movie as being like a drug trip and it really does feel like that. There’s a lot of bright vivid colours, particularly red, that are very apparent throughout the film. So many parts of the film feel like a giant painting, or a heavy metal album cover. Even outside the colours, there’s some moments that really feel trippy, such as a scene between Mandy and Jeremiah, which feels really surreal. There are even some brief animated moments, which would be out of place in any other movie but it works well enough here. It is also a very bloody and violent movie, you get to see Nicolas Cage deliver vengeance. There are some extremely gratifying scenes in the second half, one of which features a chainsaw fight between Cage and someone who has a bigger chainsaw than him. Mandy also has a score composed by Johann Johansson and it’s really beautiful and sets the tone of the movie really well. It’s also his last score, and he really ended it on a great note. A lot of what is seen could be described as being “very metal”. There’s a biker gang called the Black Skulls and they look like the Cenebites from Hellraiser. If you’re a big metal fan, you’re going to have a blast with Mandy. With all the visuals and the sound, all of it is enhanced and improved by watching it in a theatre.

Mandy is definitely not for everyone, it is a really slow movie (especially for the first half), it is heavy on its direction and style over the story and it just won’t work for everyone. However it personally really worked for me, the performances (especially from Nicolas Cage) were great, Panos Cosmatos’s directing style was visually beautiful and it was such a great experience for me. I will say that if you’re going to see it, try to see it in cinemas (I know its difficult), you really get more of the experience that way. Mandy is one of my favourite films of 2018 and I’m definitely going to need to check out Panos Cosmatos’s past and future work.