After the jump check out three mini reviews for Paranoia, Red 2 and The Rocket. One is a beautiful, heart-warming film; one is possibly the dullest film I have seen this year; and the third is all stars and little substance.
Director: Robert Luketic Screenplay: Jason Dean Hall & Barry Levy Cast: Liam Hemsworth, Gary Oldman, Harrison Ford
In my opinion there is no greater crime a film can commit than being boring. I would rather be shocked or offended, than feel absolutely nothing at all. Paranoia is a criminal of the highest order; a dull paint-by-numbers “corporate thriller” that doesn’t even contain an ounce of originality. When Adam Cassidy (Liam Hemsworth) fails to impress with his software concept idea, he is fired. His boss, Nicolas Wyatt (Gary Oldman) offers him a chance at redemption and at the life he has always wanted. The price for this life? He must infiltrates a company run by Wyatt’s former mentor/main competitor, Jock (Harrison Ford), and spy on behalf of Wyatt, reporting back on the company’s plans and concepts. There is nothing in this film that hasn’t been done better somewhere else. Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman dial in their lifeless performances; while Liam Hemsworth shows that he doesn’t quite have the acting chops or charisma to lead a film. Directionless, predictable and utterly forgettable. Rating: 1/5
Director: Dean Parisot Screenplay: Jon & Erich Hoeber Cast: Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Anthony Hopkins
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This is the mantra of the filmmakers behind Red 2, who decided to make an almost carbon copy of the first film. The same bunch of retired assassins are back, but this time their enemies are many, and even come from within. Red 2 sees Anthony Hopkins play both elderly and crazy particularly well, as a former scientist responsible for some of the greatest nuclear and chemical weapons ever invented. The film is worth seeing just for Helen Mirren, who is a delight to watch as the hard-as-nails, gun-toting assassin. She gets some of the best lines (look out for great reference to The Queen) , and looks like she’s having a great time. The same can’t be said for Bruce Willis, who looks like he’s been inconvenienced and would rather be anywhere else. I can’t say I blame him though, as the laughs are few and far between, and the story does little to engage. My recommendation for the filmmakers if there is to be a third film – Mirren, Mirren and more Mirren. Rating: 2/5
Director: Kim Mordaunt Screenplay: Kim Mordaunt Cast: Sitthiphon Disamoe, Loungnam Kaosainam, Thep Phongam
In what is easily one of the best films of 2013, we are taken on an uplifting and heart-warming adventure in Laos, a country and a culture unfamiliar to most. Ahlo (played marvelously by Sitthiphon Disamoe) has always been considered bad luck due to the circumstances of his birth. When is family are forced to resettle due to the construction of a damn, things don’t exactly go smoothly and he gets into many scrapes. Ahlo is a bright and cheerful boy, with a heart so big it will make you cry. He may not always do the right thing, but his heart is always in the right place. Part of the magic of film is its ability to transport us, and Morduant does this wonderfully in his feature film début. The Laos countryside is photographed beautifully and many aspects of its culture are on display. It was a joy to spend time with these characters and I left the cinema with the biggest smile on my face. Rating: 4.5/5
By Sam McCosh