100 Word Review – Money Monster (2016)

Walking that fine line between socio-political commentary and thriller, this film stands out.

Lee (George Clooney), presenter of financial advice TV show Money Monster, is held up at gun point live on the air after some of his advice goes bad. Under the direction of his producer, Patty (Julia Roberts), Lee is forced to put his life where his mouth is.

Jodie Foster’s direction succeeds in adding extra dimensions to an already punchy script. Politically challenging, it manages to be a thought-provoking thriller that keeps an audience on the edge of its seats while poking holes in society’s capitalist greed.

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100 Word Review – Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Cosmic criminals, comedy, combat and a killer 80s soundtrack, what more could you want from this Marvel comic adaptation?

Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is taken from Earth after the death of his mum, with only an epic mixtape to keep him company. 25 years later he calls himself Star Lord, and is an intergalactic thief, caught up in a bid to save the galaxy.

Writer/director James Gunn (Scooby-Doo) does a fantastic job of creating a three-dimensional ensemble cast that includes a talking tree (Vin Diesel), a wise-cracking racoon (Bradley Cooper) and a whole lot more. It’s an absolute joy to watch.

100 Word Review – Everybody Wants Some!! (2016)

There is something about this film that made me feel as though I was hanging out with friends.

In the three days before college starts in 1980, a group of college baseball players make the most of their unsupervised freedom.

Written and directed by Richard Linklater (Dazed & Confused, School of Rock, Boyhood, Before Sunrise), it’s a character piece with a wonderfully skilled ensemble cast. Well shot, funny and at some times down-right daft, this will put a smile on your face if you don’t take it too seriously.

Complete with sing-a-long Rapper’s Delight, fantastic one-liners and fabulous outfits; don’t miss it.

100 Word Review – Absolutely Anything (2015)

Written and directed by Terry Jones (of Monty Python fame) with the help of skilled screenwriter Gavin Scott (Small Soldiers, The Borrowers), this is a weird and wonderful concoction.

Neil (Simon Pegg) is a teacher and aspiring writer when he is given the powers to do absolutely anything by a group of all-powerful aliens (voiced by the Python crew). The fate of the world rests on whether he uses his powers for good or evil.

With Kate Beckinsale and Robin Williams supporting, this film is brilliantly put together and very funny. It’s also extremely silly, in the best possible way.

100 Word Review – Brave (2012)

The first Pixar film with a female protagonist, it also won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature.

Set in medieval Scotland, Princess Merida (Kelly Macdonald) refuses to marry a prince, defying her father (Billy Connolly) and causing more arguments with her mother (Emma Thompson). When a witch (Julie Walters) offers her a way out, she takes it without considering the consequences.

Full of the feel of Celtic myths and a magic that is integral to both the story and the feel of the film, this is a wonderful family movie. Although sometimes overlooked, this is another example of Pixar’s genius.

100 Word Review – Being John Malkovich (1999)

Craig (John Cusack) a puppeteer with a failing career finds a portal that allows him inside the mind of famous actor John Malkovich, where he starts to put his skills to work.

Written by Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Adaptation) and directed by Spike Jonze (Where The Wild Things Are, Her), this film was always going to be an unusual movie.

With John Malkovich playing himself and co-starring Cameron Diaz and Catherine Keener, this film is weird, dark and completely trippy. The acting is superb and there are moments of dark humour that make it thoroughly watchable.

100 Word Review – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

It’s not often you see Jim Carrey in a serious film, and I’m not sure why because he’s brilliant in this.

At the end of their relationship, Joel (Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet) undergo a procedure to have each other removed from their memories.

As would be expected with a film written by Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) and directed by Michel Gondry (Be Kind Rewind, The Science of Sleep), it’s equal parts wacky and beautiful.

The film is far from linear and takes you on an extraordinary journey filled with romance, laughter as well as darkness and despair.

100 Word Review – 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Not quite sure what, if anything, this film has to do with Cloverfield, but it is worth watching for at least one thing; John Goodman.

After being involved in a car crash, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) wakes up to find herself locked in a fallout shelter being told by Howard (Goodman) and Emmett (John Gallagher Jr) that outside the world is ending.

Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) is among the screenwriters on this very strange film that sits somewhere in the thriller / comedy / Sci Fi / drama genre. Goodman is equal parts wonderful, hilarious and terrifying.

It also has a truly brilliant trailer:

100 Word Review – Midnight Special (2016)

Midnight Special

There is something strange about Alton (Jaeden Lieberher). The Ranch think he’s their saviour, the FBI think he’s a weapon. His father, Roy (Michael Shannon) just wants to protect him.

Written and directed by Jeff Nichols (Mud, Take Shelter), this is a dramatic yet realistic Sci Fi that will have you asking more questions than it answers in the best possible way. Co-starring Kirsten Dunst (the only woman with more than two lines in the whole film!), Joel Edgerton and the always wonderful Adam Driver (pictured below), the acting is strong held together by a stella performance from young Lieberher.

Adam Driver Midnight Special

100 Word Review – The Illusionist (2010)

Not to be confused with the 2006 film of the same name, this French animation is based on a screenplay by Jacques Tati (Mon Oncle, Jour de Fete).

A French illusionist befriends a young Scottish woman and both of their lives change for ever.

It is the closest I’ve come to seeing a silent animation and the combination is mesmerising. Full of humour, charm and at times magic, this is a wonderful film for both adults and children alike.

Adapted and directed by Sylvain Chomet (Belleville Rendezvous, Paris je t’aime, Attila Marcel), it was nominated for the Best Animated Feature Oscar.