Mar 042012


Too many films, too little time! Check out our brief thoughts on 3 films currently available to rent & own.



A virus kills a handful of people around the world, and suddenly we have a worldwide heath crisis on our hands. Where did the virus originate from and how can it be stopped? As the number of people dying heads into the tens of millions, the creation and distribution of a vaccine becomes both a political and health issue. The experience of this health crisis is shown from the perspective of several different characters – lead scientist, husband of the first victim, UN worker, front-line disease response etc. Showing this shared experience from the perspective of these different people adds a realistic and well-roundedness to the story.

Contagion has a fantastic ensemble cast that do a good job. Praise has to be given to Kate Winslet for her performance as the front-line disease control respondent. You can really feel both her steadfast resolve to get it under control and her underlying fear.  While Jude Law’s character ‘the blogger’, is very annoying, it’s a very realistic portrayal about how certain people respond to worldwide media events these days. Everyone is a journalist and everyone has opinions. The stand-out feature of this film is the very skilful score by Cliff Martinez. It’s never overbearing, and yet the film would be completely lost without it.

It’s a pity that a film with such high stakes seriously lacks in tension. While millions of people are dying, you never feel that concerned – it always feels like things will work out. Showing more of the initial spread of the virus may have helped.

Overall, a fantastic film which is worth watching for the score alone.

Horrible Bosses

Three men have three bosses that are horrible in different ways. One has a psycho boss, one boss is sex-crazed, and another is a drugged-up punk. Of course the logical thing to do when you hate your boss is plot to kill them – so that’s what these guys decide to do. Except, they’re not exactly the smartest bunch and none of them have experience at killing people. What plays out is a bumbling group of guys making idiots out of themselves in order to come to some sort of realisation about their lives and careers.

The problem with this film is it’s just not that funny. The gags have all been done in better films before and there isn’t anything new to be found. The dialogue is extremely flat and lacks the cleverness needed to make a comedy really hit the mark. Jennifer Anniston is quite funny as the sex-crazed dentist; but we can’t help but think what an outrage it would be if she were the assistant who was being abused by her male boss.

A below-average comedy which is far more boring than it is funny.



The story of two very different brothers who decide to fight in the world’s biggest mixed martial arts contest for very different reasons. Tommy (Tom Hardy) is an ex-soldier who wants to provide for the family of the comrade he lost in battle; while Brendan (Joel Edgerton) is a teacher who has fallen on extremely tough times and is fighting to save his home. Yes this is a sports film, but it’s also a film about family, loyalty, love and forgiveness. While it becomes obvious early on where the film is heading, it still manages to hook you in completely.

The film spends a considerable time telling the back-story and motivations behind the brothers. While this feels a little tedious at the time, it totally pays off in the second half of the film when you realise how big the stakes are and how much pain is involved. Hardy and Edgerton deliver absolutely heart-breaking and raw performances as the troubled brothers. We also enjoyed the performance of Frank Grillio as Brendan’s trainer. The film is shot in a very raw and grainy style which perfectly  mirrors the dirty and visceral world that the film is set in.

An emotionally charged film which is completely worth the 140 minutes of your time.