Article: 2014’s Bottom 10 Movies


10. Need for Speed

9. Labor Day

8. Serena

7. Dracula Untold

6. 47 Ronin

5. Sex Tape

4. The Other Woman

3. I, Frankenstein

2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

1. Transformers: Age of Extinction

Dishonourable mentions

Men, Women, & Children, Hercules, The Hundred-Foot Journey, Jersey Boys, 3 Days to Kill, The Captive, Maleficent, Noah, The Monuments Men, Into the Storm, Devil’s Knot, A Million Ways to Die in the West, Pompeii, Transcendence

Disappointments

Exodus: Gods and Kings, The Judge, The Equalizer, Magic in the Moonlight, Godzilla, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Before I Go to Sleep, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, God’s Pocket, Horrible Bosses 2, Sabotage, Deliver Us From Evil, Non-Stop, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, The Water Diviner

See you all in 2015!!

Article: 2014’s Top 10 Movies


10. Captain America: The Winter Soldier 

9. Short Term 12

short_term_12

8. Foxcatcher

foxcatcher-1

7. The Grand Budapest Hotel

6. Inside Llewyn Davis

5. Nightcrawler

4. Boyhood

3. Wolf of Wall Street 

2. Gone Girl

1. 12 Years a Slave 

Honourable mentions

The Guest, Her, The Babadook, Whiplash, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, 22 Jump Street, Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Cold in July, Edge of Tomorrow, Blue Ruin, The Raid 2: Berandal, Only Lovers Left Alive, Under the Skin, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Snowpiercer, The Lego Movie, A Hijacking, Mr Turner

Surprises

Kill the Messenger, John Wick, Lucy, Fury, Camp X-Ray, A Walk Among the Tombstones, Bad Neighbours, Chef, 300: Rise of an Empire, RoboCop, In Order of Disappearance

See you in 2015!!

Review: St. Vincent (Rotunda Media)


Review: St. Vincent (Rotunda Media)

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Review: War-crushing Wrap-up


Director: Peter Jackson

Writers: Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Phillipa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro

Stars: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Luke Evans


Release date: December 26th, 2014

Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

Countries: New Zealand, USA

Running time: 144 minutes


 

3/5

Best part: Freeman and McKellen.

Worst part: The padded-out plot.

Review: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Verdict: A exhaustive yet entertaining trilogy-capper.

Article: Update: The Sony Hacking Scandal


Article: Update: The Sony Hacking Scandal

Article: Fight Club: Masculinity Within Millenial Transition


Article: Fight Club: Masculinity Within Millennial Transition

St. Vincent Review (Colosoul Group inc.): Bill’s Blues


Director: Theodore Melfi

Writer: Theodore Melfi

Stars: Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, Chris O’Dowd

11180580_800


Release date: December 26th

Distributor: The Weinstein Company

Country: USA

Running time: 102 minutes


 

3/5

Best part: Murray’s charisma.

Worst part: The heavy-handed messages.

Review: St. Vincent (Colosoul Group inc.)

Verdict: A quaint yet transparent dramedy.

Live Review: Abbe May @ The Bird


Review: Abbe May @ The Bird

Live Review: Wonderland 2014 @ Supreme Court Gardens


Review: Wonderland 2014 @ Supreme Court Gardens

Interview: Saskwatch


Article: Interview: Saskwatch

Live Review: Timothy Nelson & the Infidels @ Odd Fellow


Review: Timothy Nelson & the Infidels @ Odd Fellow

Live Review: The Datsuns @ Astor Lounge


Review: The Datsuns @ Astor Lounge

Live Review: Matt Gresham @ Quarry Amphitheatre


Review: Matt Gresham @ Quarry Amphitheatre 

Exodus: Gods & Kings Review: Anglo Apocalypse


Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: Steven Zaillian, Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Jeffrey Caine

Stars: Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Aaron Paul, Ben Kingsley


Release date: December 4th, 2014

Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Countries: USA, UK, Spain

Running time: 150 minutes


 

3/5

Best part: Bale and Edgerton.

Worst part: The sluggish pace.

A man named Christian plays Judaism’s greatest prophet – now that’s irony! Over the past few months, Ridley Scott’s latest behemoth, Exodus: Gods & Kings, has caused significant controversy. Its casting decisions sent internet comment sections into overdrive, with Caucasian thespians – including Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, and Aaron Paul – embodying ancient Egyptian Pharaohs and Hebrew slaves via spray tans, wigs, costumes, and eye-liner. Sure, there may have been some ‘Hollywood pretty’ people running around this period. However, the production’s checkered history and questionable choices severely damage the immersion effect.

Christian Bale as Moses.

In a press junket, Scott inappropriately claimed the casting of middle-eastern actors would fundamentally stall the project. Yes, this is how Hollywood works today. However, this, coming from one of Tinseltown’s most prestigious filmmakers, is unprofessional. So, forgetting about ethical quarrels for a moment, how does Exodus: Gods & Kings fare? Short answer: Exodus? More like Meh-xodus (too damn easy)! On paper, this project has several  alluring qualities befitting of big-budget entertainment. Ambitiously, the movie hopes to draw people back to the big screen and the Book of Exodus. Indeed, the story of Moses leading 600, 000 Israelite slaves to the promised land from Egyptian rulers warrants significant discussion. The story, known by many as: “that ‘parting the Red Sea’ one”, deserves many adaptations. After all, religion and entertainment mean different things to different people. Scott’s version hurls us directly into the action, for better or worse. We meet Moses (Bale), in 1300 B.C., as a war-crushing, peace-welding general. Moses, fighting the Hittite army, saves his brother/Prince Rameses(Edgerton)’s life (as prophesied) whilst crafting a flawless battle strategy. Moses, favoured by King Seti I (John Turturro), is sent to Pithom to resolve issues between Hebrew slaves and their masters. Rubbing Viceroy Hegep (Ben Mendelsohn) the wrong way, Moses is closely monitored. grizzly slave Joshua (Paul) and elder Nun (Ben Kingsley) inform Moses of his true origins. He, banished from Memphis by the royal family, marries Zipporah (Maria Valverde) and conceives Gershom. God – appearing as a boy (Isaac Andrews) – and the burning bush demand Moses’ cooperation.

Joel Edgerton vs the Red Sea.

Famed director Cecil B. DeMille adapted this tale in 1923 and 1956, calling both The Ten Commandments. Obviously, Charlton Heston is no less Anglo than Bale. However, that version was, literally and figuratively, bigger than Ben-Hur. The sweeping majesty of DeMille’s second shot overshadowed said troubling elements. Sadly, Scott’s slick yet shallow remake/adaptation pales in comparison. His gold-and-chrome-covered extravaganza delivers everything you’d expect from the master historical-epic filmmaker. However, Exodus: Gods & Kings has no idea what it’s doing, saying, or even thinking. It suffers similar issues as his polarising 2010 Robin Hood. Both historical-epics muddy the waters between reasonable explanation and divine intervention/deus ex machina. Invested in every detail, he wants us to dive headlong into the narrative. Convinced 110% of this gargantuan story’s worth, Scott constructs meticulous analyses of each chapter. Pulling his people through the mud, Moses is more reasonable, complicated man than well-meaning saviour. However, before you can say: “Let my people go!”, It lifelessly charges from Moses/Rameses’ brotherhood to the Red Sea parting to Mount Sinai/Commandment carving section. Dedicating it to recently deceased filmmaker/younger brother Tony Scott, he becomes wowed by every grain of sand, speck of dust, and rule in the book. Discussing the physical, psychological, ethical, and religious ramifications, it bites off more than it can chew. Scott, obsessed with the visual aspects of Ancient Egypt, becomes lost in a (Red) sea of bright colours, flashy compositions, glorious scenic vistas, and full-on set pieces. His version – flipping from gritty character-drama to kooky sword-and-sandal-epic to pompous parable – becomes more narratively, tonally, and thematically barren than a North-African desert.

“You say that you didn’t… cause all this. You say this is not your fault. So let’s just see who’s more effective at killing: You or me.” (Rameses (Joel Edgerton), Exodus: Gods & Kings).

Ben Kingsley.

Despite the cast and crew’s best efforts, Exodus: Gods & Kings is more shiny than seminal. This Old testament walk-through delivers several  gripping set-pieces and glorious compositions. It, attempting to please multiple audiences, valiantly re-creates the story’s most  significant events. The banishment sequence reaffirms Scott and classic Hollywood’s ever-lingering glow. This sequence, drawing  emotional weight from this lifeless slog, depicts a painstaking journey from emptiness to salvation. Scott and co. put a unique spin on this age-old tale of masculinity, heroism, and brotherhood. The ten plagues sequence delivers gripping moments bolstered by sumptuous visuals and intriguing concepts. The kingdom’s science expert (Ewen Bremner) breaks everything down logically, citing the link between a blood-red Nile, frogs, flies, and locusts. In addition, the visual effects and production design crews  construct this 40-minute sequence vigorously. Fusing violence, stakes, and visual flourishes, this middle-third-spanning event is worth the admission cost. Scott’s scintillating world-building techniques help crack the whip. The first action sequence, though derivative of Gladiator‘s opening set-piece, establishes the movie’s scope and style. Developing Moses and Rameses as fearless warriors, this sequence separates the men – and kings – from the boys. Scott, unlike most action filmmakers, draws brilliant performances out of ensemble casts. Bale and Edgerton, matching one another in consistency and enthusiasm, excel despite the controversy. Paul, Kingsley, and Sigourney Weaver – overcoming wholly underdeveloped characters – add to the grit-and-blood-stained aura.

Like preceding bible-sized flop Noah, Exodus: Gods & Kings is a bizarre, laughable, yet ambitious re-telling. Modernising one of religion’s most prescient and intriguing stories, Bale and Edgerton save this sword-and-sandal adventure. Despite its valiant attempts, this adaptation appeals to everyone and no one simultaneously. Extending an already expansive tale, Scott walks a shaky line between hyper-realism and full-blown fantasy. Like Moses himself, Scott shuffles from determination to obsession to degradation. It’s his best effort since American Gangster, but – given Robin Hood, Prometheus, The Counselor, Body of Lies, and A Good Year – that’s a low, jewel-encrusted hurdle.

Verdict: A visually impressive yet frustrating biblical-epic.

Horrible Bosses 2 Review: Two & A Half Stooges


Director: Sean Anders

Writers: Sean Anders, John Morris

Stars: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Chris Pine


Release date: December 11th, 2014

Distributor: Warner Bros. Entertainment 

Country: USA

Running time: 108 minutes


 

2½/5

Best part: The three leads.

Worst part: The recycled plot.

Review: Horrible Bosses 2

Verdict: Another middling comedy sequel.

Article – Movies to TV: Why People Are Moving to the Small Screen


Article: Movies to TV: Why People Are Moving to the Small Screen

Live Review – Joan Armatrading @ Astor Theatre


Review: Joan Armatrading @ Astor Theatre

Live Review – The Hoodoo Gurus @ Scarborough Amphitheatre


Review: The Hoodoo Gurus @ Scarborough Amphitheatre

Interview – Timothy Nelson & the Infidels


Interview: Timothy Nelson & the Infidels

Serena Review – Mountainous Mishap


Director: Susanne Bier

Writers: Christopher Kyle (screenplay), Ron Rash (novel)

Stars: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Rhys Ifans, Sean Harris


Release date: November 27th, 2014

Distributors: StudioCanal, Magnolia Pictures

Countries: USA, France

Running time: 109 minutes


 

 

1½/5

Best part: The scenery.

Worst part: The misjudged direction.

Review: Serena

Verdict: A Laughable and dull western-drama.

Live Review – David Bridie @ Astor Lounge


Review: David Bridie @ Astor Lounge

Live Review – Toby @ Indi Bar


Review: Toby @ Indi Bar