Triple 9

After a crew of thieves – including two corrupt cops – partially botch the robbery of a bank’s safety deposit box for Russian gangsters, the team are given another chance and their fee is withheld until she successfully steal more information, key to the release of the gang’s boss. The only way to pull off the heist is to distract all the local cops long enough for a decent window of time, and the corrupt officers Marcus (Anthony Mackie) and Franco (Clifton Collins Jr.) believe the best way to do this is to pull a “Triple 9”, to kill a cop. And they think they’ve got the perfect target in Marcus’ new greenhorn partner Chris (Casey Affleck), the nephew of prominent Detective Sergeant Jeffrey Allen (Woody Harrelson). Meanwhile, the thieves’ leader Michael (Chiwetel Ejiofor) receives grief from the Russian boss’ wife Irina (Kate Winslet), whose sister (Gal Gadot) is the mother of Michael’s son. The rest of Michael’s team is comprised of Russell (Norman Reedus) and his younger, unstable brother Gabe (Aaron Paul).
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12 Years A Slave

The Oscar nominations were recently announced and, as usual, I’ve seen precious few of the films that were mentioned. As in, of the nine Best Picture nominees, at the time of nomination I had only seen two (American Hustle and Gravity, neither of whom I’m particularly fussed about winning). Well, now I’ve seen four, as I saw Wolf of Wall Street recently too (potential review pending). And, not to put too big a spoiler on my opinions of this film, but as far as I’m concerned those other five pictures I’ve still yet to see will need to be pretty damn phenomenal if they’ve got a chance of beating 12 Years A Slave.?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Continue reading

Serenity

As I sit here in my Browncoats t-shirt, Firefly and Dollhouse boxsets worn and well loved on the shelf, it could be said that I’m a little biased about Serenity, Joss Whedon’s Firefly spinoff, created to tie up some of the loose threads after the incredibly popular and successful TV show was inexplicably cancelled after just one hugely entertaining series. Don’t be fooled, it’s not just another Star Trek, Battlestar or Farscape, Firefly is entirely its own creature, described more as a western, that just happens to be set largely in space, in the distant future after the Earth’s resources have been depleted and mankind has sought domicile elsewhere, ‘terra-forming’ other worlds to create habitable Earth-like planets.
All I can do is compare this to the TV show, but this is a mistake, and something I really don’t advise. The show had fourteen 45 minute episodes to introduce the characters and build on their relationships, steadily building a fan-base whilst taking the characters on various adventures and quests, whereas Serenity must introduce said characters, display and possibly develop their respective personalities and relationships, and also take them on some kind of journey, all within the space of a couple of hours, whilst covering as little familiar ground as possible, so as not to annoy the existing fans. It does this well enough, with an early extended steadi-cam shot establishing the members of the central crew-come-family, their individual characteristics, unusual manner of speech (“she is starting to damage my calm”) as they make their way around the good ship Serenity, even introducing new characters, like Chiwetel Eijofor’s nameless operative and David Krumholtz’s Mr. Universe, essentially a trial for the character of Topher in Dollhouse (and what is Inara but a doll herself?).  Some of the dialogue and mythology is a little thick for the uninitiated, but if anything it should pique their interest, enticing them to watch the show and embrace the culture.
Personally, after the events of Serenity, I’d rather they didn’t continue Firefly with any more series (although I don’t think there’s much danger of that) as certain characters are lost and conclusions reached that made the original show what it was. To find out exactly what I’m talking about, go forth and view at your pleasure, I guarantee you’ll find it shiny.
Choose film 8/10

2012

Say what you will about Roland Emmerich, and many have and I’m sure many more will, but the man knows how to abuse a landscape. Given that within his back catalogue, the guy’s unleashed a giant reptile around New York, had aliens destroy all the major cities of the world and frozen the entire northern hemisphere, you’d think he’d be looking for something new, to stretch his horizon a little beyond the tedium of landscape desecration. Well now it looks like he may be doing just that, but before he goes, he wants to make sure he’s remembered for the disaster movie to end all disaster movies. So, in 2012, which historical landmarks are being reduced to so much dust in the wind? The Washington monument? The Sistine chapel? Christ the Redeemer? If you answered d) All of the above, congratulations, you’re correct, as Emmerich has had enough of humanity, and is blowing all of civilisation sky high. He even has a pop at Mount Everest, and we didn’t even build that.