Monthly Archives: November 2016

The Accountant

Something Doesn’t Add Up

I think whatever you believe this film is… It’s probably not that.

I went in with expectations of an autistic kid who is excellent with numbers being used by the mob to make their operations look as legit Lehman Brothers financial services… or at least pre-2008 Lehman Brothers.

Obviously the social ineptitude that comes part and parcel with autism would provide reason for him to use violence without feeling remorse and along the way we would explore autism, we would learn something about the condition and about ourselves, we would grow and become better human beings.

None of that happened.

To be honest I don’t actually know what we got. It was sort of part action film, part crime thriller and part family drama. The Accountant’s biggest failing is its lack of commitment to any one genre.

The bonkers plot is straight out an action film. If you don’t really want an accounting problem solved then I’d suggest you hire someone who graduated at Billy Ballbag’s school of shoddy accounting… don’t just jump in at the deep end and hire the love child of Albert Einstein and Stephen freaking Hawkins.

Then again, the action scenes are quite good and Ben Affleck plays the role with relative conviction. I’ve always thought that he is best when he is playing the social outcast or someone who life has on the back foot. This is exactly the case here.

However, this type of verbally challenged character doesn’t particularly make for good interactions with other characters.

The result of this is that the moments that Affleck is communicating with his brother Brax (Jon Bernthal) or his boss Lamar Black (John Lithgow) are as empty as my dad’s promises to do the washing. You just sit there waiting for something interesting to happen.

The same is obviously true of his co-worker Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick) which is a shame because Kendrick’s character is actually an enjoyable one to watch. Perhaps if the film had decided what it wanted to be then maybe there would have been room to further develop the relationship between Kendrick and Affleck.

Perhaps it could have also truly explored what it would be like to live with Autism rather than just use it as a mechanism to further the convoluted array of subplots. If, like me, you were expecting to learn anything from The Accountant then it’s simply this: autistic people don’t like social interactions but love ceiling mounted miniguns.

Ordinarily you could add up all of these parts and it would equal a truly impressive turd of a film yet there is something really watchable about The Accountant. Give it a watch. Just don’t hold me accountable if you don’t like it.

The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:

+ Some decent action
+ Anna Kendrick
+ It’s actually surprisingly watchable


– Confused genre
– Nothing really to do with Autism
– Bonkers plot with too many subplots

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Doctor Strange

Marvel – Still Alive and Kicking

Let’s jump right to it. This is a Marvel movie. Sure, they are as common as Mars bars at the minute but god damn if they aren’t as delicious as those Lindor truffles!

I say it in almost every Marvel review but the foresight of Marvel studios is astonishing. Building out the wider Marvel universe is one thing but the real magic is keeping viewer fatigue at bay especially since doctors orders was to take 1-2 films, twice a year for 10 whole years!!

Charlie Sheen might disagree but you can have too much of a good thing!

However, by drip feeding us new characters like Black Panther and changing the style of films with Captain America being more of a drama and then along comes Ant-Man as a comedy crime caper.

So where does the Sorcerer Supreme fit in?

Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a rockstar doctor who can do no wrong but after being involved in a horrific accident he has to look for unconventional healing methods after western medicine fails him. It’s here in this quest that he finds The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) who introduces him to, essentially, a new way of living.

If you strip back all the mysticism and Inception style visuals you are left with a film that is incredibly similar to Iron Man.

I really wish the structure and character journey could live up to the name the doctor’s last name and taken us to mind bending places but that’s not the case. It is another Superhero film, but it’s an excellent one!

Doctor Strange, without question, packs in the greatest acting talent ever assembled in a Marvel film and because of this we are treated to some of the best performances in a Marvel movie accompanied by some of the hardest god damn names to write correctly.

Obviously Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo are both excellent but the supporting cast are just as excellent – if not better. Benedict Wong as err… Wong… is brilliantly placed as the hilariously humourless head of the Hong Kong sanctum whilst Mads Mikkelsen as Kaecilius is instantly one of the Marvel’s best enemies if slightly underutilised.

In my eyes though it’s all about the ladies. Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One was endearing, creepy, captivating and untrustworthy all at the same time. It’s another perfect piece of casting. There has been a lot of negativity over Rachel McAdams’ role as Christine Palmer and yeah, absolutely, more could’ve been done but at the same time she represents the viewer in being on the fringes of an unknown world where things don’t quite make sense.

I’ve neglected the real star of the film though: THAT CLOAK!

Oh man. I have never wanted a cape/cloak more than after watching the film. I won’t say anymore for fear of spoilers but I want one, I want one, I want one.

You should probably also give this a watch for some really interesting CGI. Doctor Strange really packs it in. Freezing time, rewinding time, one-take teleports, kaleidoscope visuals all take second place to a fight scene with Kaecilius that is like watching an M C Escher painting come to life.

It’s a shame that Dormammu was probably the worst of the film’s CGI repertoire because if you Google him he looks like a cool flaming head hell beast but in the film he’s mostly a disembodied cloud with glowy eyes.

I would fully understand if you thought this was a 3 star film but to me it still felt fresh, it was funnier than I was expecting and with such a good cast I think it’s up there with Marvel’s best.

The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:

+ New Cape-abilities
+ Excellent supporting cast
+ Interesting CGI


– Strange Iron Doctor Man
– Rachel McUnderutilised
– Dormammu

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Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Reacher Round Again!

He’s back! Tom Cruise once again picks up his role as Jack Reacher after that film he was in once. Was it a year ago? No two? It was the one where he… well, he had that bit at a quarry? Something about a shootout.

Never Go Back is exactly as memorable as the first Jack Reacher film thanks to an extraordinarily obvious plot that is a re-treading of almost every other action/espionage film.

The plot kicks off with Reacher having the worst blind date after arranging to meet Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders) at the military HQ only to find the butch and grizzled Colonel Morgan (Holt McCallany) sat in her place. Turns out that Susan has been arrested for espionage. Something doesn’t add up so Reacher goes rogue to prove her innocence.

Insert government conspiracies, inside jobs, the threatening of loved ones, hiring of trained killers and enemies becoming friends. It’s all there. If this was a Friday night a Gala you would have shouted Bingo by now.

You know those times where you plan a meal, you spend ages prepping/cooking and it’s all going perfect. Then you realise the potatoes aren’t done, the gravy is bland as Jeremy Corbyn and now the meat is turning leathery. All the ingredients and the enthusiasm were there but it just didn’t come together.

One of the key ingredients is of course Tom Cruise who can still draw in punters with ease – including me obviously – but this is to the detriment of the film because this is Tom Cruise playing Tom Cruise in “The Tom Cruise show: starring Tom Cruise”. All other actors are sidelined.

Most notably is Coby Smulders which is a shame because she has a number of key, powerful moments. At one point she lays into Reacher, poignantly reminding him that not only is she “not just a woman” but she is the victim here. If anyone, ANYONE, wants to take down those responsible for her incarceration then it is undoubtedly her.

She says that… then let’s Tom Cruise continue on a solo mission to end the film by himself and literally fuck all to help. Couldn’t have been that important then, right?!

Mix in Samantha (Danika Yarosh) as Reacher’s is-she-isn’t-she my daughter and there is certainly potential to expose Reacher as a vulnerable and lonely male and one that has more than two dimensions: punching people and shooting people.

I actually found Yarosh incredibly irritating to start off with but the more her story of a  young, isolated girl from a broken home is drip fed to the audience the more important her role becomes.

Make no mistake though; no-one is going to outshine Tom Cruise in his second Reacher round. If you find him as enjoyable as smearing jam on your junk and hanging out around wasps nests then obviously avoid this like the plague. If you can’t help but succumb to his natural on-screen charisma then sure; give it a watch… even if there is literally nothing new to see here.

The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:

+ The plot has potential
+ Danika Yarosh
+ It’s still a Tom Cruise film!?


– Generic action
– It’s the Tom Cruise show
– Nothing you haven’t seen before

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Inferno

Dante Look Now

In the immortal words of Red Dwarf “There’s loads of things I’ve never done! I’ve never read………………. a book!”. I feel like that sometimes.

One of the books I have read is Cloud Atlas which I can only describe as the long lost book from William Shakespeare about multiple personality disorder whilst a group of people encircled me and chanted that I was stupid. It’s a really difficult read.

The only other book I can recall completing in recent times is The Da Vinci Code. I really enjoyed it. There’s a great blend of history, religion and fiction… or history and fiction as it’s also known.

The Da Vinci Code was also a difficult to read thanks to the multiple layers of symbolism and plot threads and that makes it incredibly difficult to make into a coherent film. Angels and Demons improved upon the original film but Inferno is the X-Men: Last Stand, the problem child, the awkward third instalment.

In fact it’s a scorching, lava pit of nonsensical fucking garbage.

Even Tom Hanks looks like he’s given up on the franchise during this film with many scenes being over-dramatised presumably to make up for the barrage of crap script that is just read at you like the shipping forecast or like your mum telling you about her day: “..and then I met Jane, Jane’s been on holiday, do you remember her son, he’s moved to Italy now, I got a new recipe but then the bus was late”.

It’s the same core issue as the first two films only amplified to the point at which it becomes farcical. Even from the very start we see Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) injured and suffering from amnesia with nothing but a treasure map in the form of the famous Dante’s inferno painting on him is being treated by a nurse who may as well be a leading authority on Dante and a fan of Langdon’s work. Well that’s fucking convenient!

What then follows is a series of running from one art gallery to another and asking the only one question that get’s them to the next clue. By the time the plot twist was revealed I was expecting Marlon Wayans to appear. Surely this is a spoof? It’s so bad, it HAS to be a spoof.

Marlon Wayans didn’t appear. In his place is Irrfan Khan who plays Harry Sims and is the only real saving grace of the film. Not only does is he effortlessly cool but he injects some much needed humour.

Khan’s moments on screen also slow the pace of a film that is just desperate to tell you how clever it is by pointing out the next clue hidden in yet forgetting to provide any convincing plot as to why and how it’s all linked and even why we are on this wild goose chase in the first place.

The best analogy I can think of is this: Inferno is the infamous 90’s UK TV show supermarket sweep, only someone has replaced the supermarket with various art galleries and the sense of fun with obtuse references to even more art galleries.

It’s the sort of film that makes you think “Man, I wish I had just read………………. the book!”.

The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:

+ Irrfan Khan

– Trashfire script
– Bad acting
– Nonsensical plot

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