As Christmas is almost upon us, you might be looking for gifts at the bottom of the bargain bin in some desperate attempt to placate that tricky family member.
Remember, film is subjective, so as long as they haven’t seen it, you have a 50/50 chance of getting it right. Worse-case scenario, they roll their eyes and say ‘thanks’ in that tone that makes you want to pistol whip them.
I have news for you: if it’s a first time offence, you will get away with no more than two quick strikes to the face, go for it. The ungrateful need a few love taps to the face once in a while.
A Long Way Down
Synopsis: two britpack institutions, an Australian and an American tent-pole agree not to top themselves whilst forming a unlikely friendship.
Lucky laddy Pierce Brosnan, dishy Imogen Poots, Academy-nominated Toni Collette and man of the moment Aaron Paul star in this black comedy that takes on suicide, angst, depression and promiscuity.
Remember that bloody awful film with all the Abba songs? It’s like that but with a heady mix of 90s Four Weddings and no singing. I will set the scene for you: late one New Year’s Eve, Martin (Brosnan) decides that he has finally had enough and ascends a London tower block to top himself. Cue a band of randoms that are also intent on making pavement soup. The group band together and form an unlikely cult intent on not killing themselves with each other’s misguided help until Valentine’s Day. Worth buying for that friend you really want to pistol whip.
Edge of Tomorrow:
Synopsis: Tom Cruise, playing a modern day Bill Murray in an alien invasion.
I didn’t know if I was going to like this new Cruise offering, to be honest. I had watched him feature on endless chat shows promoting it, of course, but still didn’t know if it was for me. I can believe Cruise in many films. One of his most recent sci-fi endeavours, Oblivion, was a huge success and really resonated with me, but could I see Cruise in another action packed alien stomper? The trailer was haunting and massively reminiscent of the Halo and Warhammer franchises. If neither of those ring a bell, don’t worry, it’s for the best.
It turns out that the plotline of Edge of Tomorrow is a familiar favourite, having only been explored once before. I can’t really go into detail as it will most likely ruin the whole idea for you. It will certainly remove any chance of an open-mouth squinty-eyed look in the first twenty minutes. It is, however, a visual and audial triumph. well worth purchase. Buy it for the person in your life that dreams of pistol whipping hoards of aliens.
Synopsis: AI. Enough said.
Antonio Banderas – as an insurance agent. I can imagine his face in his agent’s office.
“Why not a gun toting cop?” “Well, Antonio, that part is going to Dylan McDermot”.
This role sees a more sombre and conflicted Banderas take on ‘the man’ in favour of a new race of autonomous robots. Cue Isaac Asimov’s three rules and we are on our way to robot hell in a hand basket. Banderas is called in to investigate a robot violating its operating system and self-repairing, only to find a very deep rabbit hole. Download and gift this to the person in your life that wants to be pistol whipped by a phaser gun.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Synopsis: a Wes Anderson film. Says it all really.
As a fan of Wes Anderson and particularly Ralph Fiennes, expect a certain amount of gushing. The general consensus was that the film was typically stylish but deceptively thoughtful. The story is that, in the 1930s, the Grand Budapest Hotel is a popular Euro ski resort, managed by the staunch concierge Gustave H (Fiennes). A junior lobby boy, Zero, becomes Gustave’s friend and protégé. Gustave takes pleasure in delivering the hotel’s guests the finest levels of service and occasionally satisfying their sexual needs.
When one of Gustave’s elderly lovers dies in mysterious circumstances, he finds himself in possession of a priceless painting as part of her will, and also as the chief suspect in her murder.
As with many Wes Anderson films, the list of talent is lengthy: Adrien Brody, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Willem Dafoe, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Jude Law, Tom Wilkinson, Harvey Keitel, each plays an amazingly entertaining character. The film is incredibly styled with certain cinematic techniques utilised that surprise and astound.
My favourite line:
Dmitri: [about M. Gustave] This criminal has plagued my family for nearly 20 years. He’s a ruthless adventurer and a con artist who preys on mentally feeble, sick old ladies! And he probably fucks them, too!
M. Gustave: I go to bed with all my friends.
Buy it for the person in your life that would appreciate an ornate scrimshaw box with an ornate pistol laid inside it.
Into the Storm
Synopsis: Mother nature delivers her usual performance of death and destruction.
Nature attacks. Think of it as a modern day Twister. Same group of insane storm chasers, this time with an abundance of self-shooting cameras. That’s right, it’s another film that has used the ‘found footage’ principal. I wouldn’t say it’s a format that I embrace, but it doesn’t do too badly in this epic storm chaser. Buy this for that someone who was born post-Twister and will have no idea what pistol whipping is.
A Million Ways to Die in the West
Synopsis: Seth MacFarlane convinces a cast of comedy geniuses and acting heavyweights to enjoy the same success of Ted. Possibly.
Let’s get one thing straight: Family Guy is a monolithic success and a hilarious show. It takes ‘the line’ and fires it out of a cannon, into the sun. Ted was Seth MacFarlane’s first outing into features and was arguably a great concept. What would happen if your childhood teddy came to life, and then lived with you into adult life? A Million Ways to Die in the West however, doesn’t have the same well-formed effect. A western, after all, is a hard thing to crack, especially a comedy version. It will only appeal to certain audiences. Buy this for the person in your life that will use the pistol on themselves.