Monday, 13 April 2015






Thursday, 9 April 2015

250W: While We're Young

Short reviews for clear and concise verdicts on a broad range of films...

While We're Young (Dir Noah Baumbach / 2015)

Who doesn’t look forward to the new Noah Baumbach? He’s Woody Allen via Jean Luc Godard, set amongst the cool-kids in New York. Director of the lovable Frances Ha and mentally-unhinged Greenberg, his latest film, While We’re Young, returns to similar themes of youth and age amongst urban city-slicker art-types. Cornelia (Naomi Watts) and Josh (Ben Stiller) are introduced as they hold a crying baby, and uncomfortably fawn over the child. It’s not their child, thank god. New Yorkers through-and-through, they are stuck between that early-forties phase whereby they’re not keen on the responsibility of parenthood. Then, they meet young and cool Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried), and feel better about themselves. Josh is inspired to wear a hipster-hat and tries to ride a bike. Cornelia attends hip-hop work-out classes and they both enjoy hallucinogens while dreamily confessing their fears and desires. It’s the age-old fight against old-age – and, like the best films, it raises more questions than it answers. Nobody is perfect and this isn’t a world whereby life is fair. A personal highlight is when documentarian Josh requests to zoom-in on footage, only to be met with the stunted response that the program can’t zoom in. While We’re Young is the type of story that only reaffirms your own frustrations about the fragility of life, with acutely-observed comedy and self-effacing criticism. Youngsters will like the young. Oldies will relate to the older folks. But this careful balance is what makes While We’re Young so elegantly exquisite.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

250W: Fast & Furious 7

Short reviews for clear and concise verdicts on a broad range of films...

Fast & Furious 7 (Dir. James Wan/2015)

Rarely does such a dark cloud hang over a film. Fast & Furious 7 tragically lost lead actor, Paul Walker, mid-filming in November 2013. Not only did this have an enormous practical impact on the production (pushing the release date an entire year ahead), but emotionally, a series that thematically reiterates the importance of family, had to contend with mourning the loss of a loved one. Director James Wan and writer Chris Morgan adapted the story and, in consultation with cast and crew, ensured that Walker had a positive send off. Thankfully, this unfortunate situation is handled sensitively and with respect. Separately, the seventh instalment doesn’t live up to its predecessors. Introducing new characters who fail to match the engaging bad-boys of the past, it’s a surprise that even Jason Statham (introduced in Fast & Furious 6) doesn’t strike fear as others before. He’s almost mute, and seeks only revenge. A strong opening perhaps, but compared to Owen Shaw, Reyes and Braga in previous films, he doesn’t stack up – though he carries more grenades. The crew – noticeably smaller now - are tasked with saving hacker Ramsey (perfectly cast…) and taking down Statham. Kurt Russell and Djimon Hounsou support, but again, they lack character and fail to ignite any urgency or passion to our favourite team. Fast & Furious 7 showcases incredible stunts (Impressively requiring little CGI), and bids goodbye to Paul in a heartfelt manner – it’s just a shame the new guys pull the breaks on such a strong franchise.

Rating: 4/5