Monthly Archives: February 2014

Review: Cuban Fury (2014)

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***THIS REVIEW WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED AT THE HOLLYWOOD NEWS ON TUESDAY 11TH FEBRUARY, HERE***

Director: James Griffiths.

Starring: Nick Frost, Chris O’Dowd, Kayvan Novak, Rashida Jones, Olivia Colman, Ian McShane, Rory Kinnear.

Certificate: 15.

Running Time: 98 minutes.

SynopsisJunior salsa champion, Bruce (Nick Frost) leaves his dancing dreams behind after a bullying incident goes too far. Bored and stuck in routine, the arrival of beautiful, smart new boss Julia (Rashida Jones) gives him reason to dig out his Cuban heels once more. That is, if sleazy co-worker Drew (Chris O’Dowd) doesn’t get in there first.

Fresh out of The Cornetto Trilogy, Nick Frost swaps ice cream for dancing shoes in a surprisingly relatable story buried under a mountain of sequins. The opening credit narration and quick-fire editing may suggest an Edgar Wright rip-off, but CUBAN FURY delivers far beyond the usual romcom tropes thanks to its brilliant cast and token salsa twist.

Based on an original idea that came to him after a drunken night out, Nick Frost plays Bruce, a former UK salsa champion who locked his trophies away after the horrors of ‘Sequingate’. Though evidently very good at his job, daily abuse from colleague Drew makes it less than enjoyable until new American boss Julia shatters the tedium. Convinced she’s out of his league, a shared love for dance has Bruce egged on by his best friends to win her heart – but getting back on the dance floor is a little more complex than climbing onto his fold up bike. Continue reading

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Review: The Lego Movie (2014)

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***THIS REVIEW WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED AT THE HOLLYWOOD NEWS ON MONDAY 10TH FEBRUARY, HERE***

Director: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller.

Starring: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson, Will Arnett, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Nick Offerman.

Running Time: 100 minutes.

Certificate: U.

Synopsis: When the ordinary, rule-obeying Emmet (Chris Pratt) is mistaken as ‘The Special’, he finds himself battling the evil President Business’ (Will Ferrell) plan to glue the individual Lego worlds together.

Move over Michael Bay. There’s a new type of cinematic mayhem in town and it comes in the form of Lego. After keeping our planet happy for the last sixty-five years, the Danish toy company have gone full blockbuster with a completely bonkers but engaging underdog story that definitely ate all the blue Smarties.

Just like 2009’s CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS, the duo’s second animated feature is heavy on both style and morals. Centering on the very ordinary Emmet, he may lack the crazy invention skills of CLOUDY’s Flint Lockwood, but he is equally trying to minifigure it all out. Perfectly happy with his daily routine, a chance encounter with the mysterious ‘Piece of Resistance’ sees an opportunity to break the monotony and open his eyes to the realities around him. Continue reading

What I’m Watching – February 2014

This list only includes films I watched for the first time this month. My most recent viewing is the top entry.

Labor Day (Dir: Jason Reitman, 2013) ***

Calvary (Dir: John Michael McDonagh, 2014) ****

Muppets Most Wanted (Dir: James Bobin, 2014)

The Raid 2: Berandal (Dir: Gareth Evans, 2014) *****

Ride Along (Dir: Tim Story, 2014) **

The Lego Movie (Dir: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, 2014) ****

Review: Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

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***THIS REVIEW WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED AT THE HOLLYWOOD NEWS ON SUNDAY 2ND FEBRUARY, HERE***

Director: Jean-Marc Vallée.

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner, Denis O’Hare, Kevin Rankin, Steve Zahn.

Running Time: 117 minutes.

Certificate: 15.

Synopsis: Hard living redneck Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) finds his morals and beliefs questioned when diagnosed as HIV-positive. Given thirty days to live, he teams up with transvestite, Rayon (Jared Leto), to help find an alternative to new drug on the block, AZT.

1985 Dallas was not the most accepting of places, with early mockery of “faggot” Rock Hudson’s death setting levels of Texan tolerance incredibly low. In the midst of the name-calling is electrician, Ron Woodroof, who, unbeknownst to him, will soon be subjected to the same taunts from those he calls friends. But this rude awakening sets the part-time rodeo rider on an unwavering path from homophobic bigot to tireless, accepting campaigner.

Woodroof’s debauched, drug-heavy antics lead to the odd blackout or two, but it’s only after an accident at work that the true reason behind them is revealed. After a spectacular outburst of denial, Ron buries his head in library book research, but cocaine-fuelled nights and trips to the strip club are still very much on the cards. Soon realising the American health service offers little more than AZT drug trials that may or may not see him beyond the projected thirty days, Ron begins smuggling untested cocktails of drugs for his physical – and financial – gain. Continue reading