Monday, 21 April 2014

MOVIE REVIEW: DIVERGENT



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In this post apocalyptic world the society is divided into 5 factions. 16 year old Beatrice Prior belongs to Obligation - the faction of selfless, and today she has to undergo a test that will forecast her future. It does not go so well. As the test comes back inconclusive she is now a Divergent - someone who does not fully belong to any of the five factions.
As Beatrice tries to build her future she is haunted by the fact that someone is killing off the other divergent. Will she become next?

DIVERGENT is one of those films that will always be compared to the book it is based on, for it is the book's popularity that made this film possible in the first place. It is hard to stop thinking of chapter-by-chapter comparison, especially because of the book being so cinematic, almost to the point of being a detailed script. While in my opinion the movie has ignored a few very entertaining action pieces from the original novel, it made up for it by adding some exciting changes to the ending, making it more believable and satisfying for the screen.

The illogical behaviour of the characters was always the weakest point of the book DIVERGENT, and while the revelation of the second novel had partially explained all the behavioural inconsistency, it will not sit well with modern movie making.

The other weakness of the book is the lack of detail, such as the clothing, the structures, the technology, etc… The film deals easily with all of the above. It is exciting to see on screen the world you have only imagined. As for the viewers not familiar with the novel, the film proposes a high concept entertaining thriller, focusing on a  “Hogwarts from hell” if you like, with no magic, but a lot of beatings and guns.

Shailene Woodley is great as post apocalyptic Cindirella ,transforming from plane Jane into the goddess of war and is probably the best thing about DIVERGENT. Watch what this girl does next!

Theo James, apart from his obvious great presence on screen, delivers us a very likable Four (that is his character’s nick name), but the script does not give him many challenges and his good looks certainly dominate his acting.

Kate Winslet may seem unconvincing as a charismatic "bitch from hell", there’s something lacking about her performance. But in my opinion it is very measured and done exactly right. If you stick around for the sequel you will know why.

Director Neil Burger, whose previous credits include a universally loved LIMITLESS, seems to be at ease with a futuristic coming of age story and the balance of romance and action. He also managed to believably maintain a bloodless film, considering DIVERGENT has probably the largest body count for its family rating.


For the fans of DIVERGENT - the novel there will be a few nice surprises in store. As for the uninitiated, apart from the great set up, the story may be just too predictable to fall in love with.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

HORROR MOVIE REVIEW: 13 SINS



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Elliot is jobless and a little bit desperate when he receives a mysterious call proposing him a simple challenge - to kill a fly. Immediately a thousand dollars is transferred to his account. Then a next challenge comes. Elliot needs to complete 13 challenges in total, if he wants to become a millionaire. But as challenges grow darker, how far Elliot will have to go to win the game?

There’s one thing going for this little thriller - it’s the story that will not disappoint. There’s plenty of gore and twists on the way.

Elliot is an interesting character, and presented to us as a loving son and a father to be. All he seems to care about is his family. All he does is for their sake. There are certain aspects of challenges are even enjoyable for him. He finds a deeper source of strength inside him going through challenges and this same strength helps him to fight back when things get twisted.

Director Daniel Stamm, whose previous film THE LAST EXORSISM is a found footage movie, does not seem to feel comfortable making a conventional film. Somehow it has a feel of a debut feature and a very grounded one (you will not see big aerial shots, extensive car chases or cat and mouse game with a killer).

Mark Webber is an inspired choice as Elliot. He walks with ease this thin edge between nice and uneasy. 

Ron Perlman is just being Ron Perlman and fills the gap of the detective in pursuit well - his presence is enough to spice up any film.

Unfortunately the rest of the cast, including Elliot’s girlfriend and autistic brother, struggle to manage with what little the script had given them.

Although 13 SINS could have been much tighter and tense, the ending is enjoyable and satisfying. Let’s face it, there are much worse horror flicks out there.


With it’s simple message the no money can buy your soul back, it throws enough horror into the mix to make it sink in. You may not like 13 SINS, but you will find it hard to forget.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

HORROR MOVIE REVIEW: STAGE FRIGHT (2014)




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Camilla was a little girl when her mother was brutally murdered on the opening night of THE HAUNTING OF THE OPERA musical where she played the lead. Now, ten years later, Camilla herself auditions for the role in the student summer camp production. But a killer in Kabuki mask does not want this to happen. Lots of blood, screaming and bad singing insure.

FREIGHT NIGHT is not a unique pursuing the idea of a horror musical, but a slasher one is something new. The opening scene will get an immediate attention of any genre aficionado, but it will be another thirty minutes or so before the next bloody moment. Is it worth the wait? Hell yeah. There are only a few murders, but they are extremely well shot, inventive and very gory.

If musicals horrify you it will add to suspense. If you love them, you will be treated by such songs as 'I am gay, but not that way'. The children in the camp are stupid and annoying. You will want them to die. The Kabuki mask slasher has a presence and personality. He is playing rock on electric guitar and his cruel comments, based on theatrical slang, will put a smile on your face. This killer is quite a comedian.

The weakest part of the film is the acting. The final girl is too wooden for an aspiring singer and when time comes to run and scream she does not deliver either. Jamie Lee Curtis she is not.

Slasher films always struggle with the surprising ending concept, but the writers of STAGE FRIGHT did their best to make it interesting. As for the final showdown it lacks tension and could have been much more “edge of the seat” kind.


STAGE FRIGHT is a weird baby that struggles with its identity. It is not scary - cruel and unusual is what comes to mind. If you decide to check it out I would advice not to judge it too harshly, for in the world overloaded with horror remakes every original idea is good as gold.

MOVIE REVIEW: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2: THE RISE OF ELECTRO



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Peter Parker has sort of pulled his life together, but his on-off relationship with Gwen Stacey are still complicated. As Peter still struggles with many mysteries of his past life the arrival of an old fried can make all the difference. And when Oscorp tries to cover up an accident it gives birth to something more sinister than anyone could imagine - the rise of Electro.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 has a complicated plot, but if you reflect on the previous instalments with Sam Raimi in director’s chair I am surprised how much sense the new story makes. I had always had a problem with the Spider-man universe because too many things were left to chance. At least THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN gives justice to logic.

THE RISE OF ELECTRO provides some interesting answers: how did Peter Parker become spider man in the first place and what really happened to his parents?

The plane crash opening scene echoes the beginning of The Dark Knight Rises preparing us for some serious dark take on the Spider-Man universe. Although THE RISE OF THE ELECTRO managed to be as dark as it possibly could to keep its family rating, it still has an almost animation quality to it. The saving grace of the story is Peter-Gwen dynamic - the real chemistry between the leads can pull any movie off. But the true show stealer is Dane William Dehaan. His portrayal Harry Osborn - a dark reflection of Peter Parker, an abandoned child himself who inherited a family curse - is charismatic and heart breaking.

Jamie Foxx easily pulls off a geeky Max, a fan of Spider Man, until the moment comes to turn him into a villain. As soon as Electro emerges, an opportunity for acting is ceased and even terrifying looking, Spider-man’s greatest foe does not appear infernal enough.

Sally Field as Aunt May deserves an honourable mention. He scenes with Andrew Garfield (Peter Parker) are genuinely touching and true to the point that anyone who has a family can identify with them.


The overall quality of the action is superb.  THE RISE OF ELECTRO is a great adventure film. It is also a hallmark of what a 3D cinema can achieve those days. As for a drama - it is probably the best that Marvel universe can provide.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

MFFF MOVIE REVIEW: MOBIUS


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Alice (Cecille France), a financial trader working in Monaco, is approached by Russian spy agency in order to catch a rogue criminal Ivan Rostovsky (Tim Roth). But Alice is already working for the American CIA with a little different task at hand. Things get even more complicated when she falls in love with Gregory (Jean Dujardin), not knowing that he is a Russian agent.

MOBIUS is a spy thriller European style, focused on love story instead of action. Unfortunately the doomed love affair between the leads lacks credibility and the chemistry between Alice and Gregory is non existent. It does not help, unfortunately, that Dujardin, is the worst non Russian playing Russian I have seen on screen.

The cinematography is decent, but does not take the most of the fantastic Monaco settings and Moscow, later in the movie, looks dull and uninteresting with mostly interior shots.

It’s a shame, but the premise of MOBIUS does not deliver the goods. The story takes too long to find its legs, and when it does its sort of all over. Anti climax in the end is disappointing, leaving the film’s many potentially interesting storylines unexplored.


There’s hardy anything good to say about MOBIUS. Although I can see how the production could find the money with an original pitch, but in our day and age a single idea cannot pull out a multi million budget movie.