The Gift

3 Stars

A lukewarm thriller.

While this may be a thriller, it’s not really all that thrilling, all told.

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Simon (Jason Bateman) and wife Robyn (Rebecca Hall) have just moved to Los Angeles, near Simon’s hometown. It all kicks off when Simon (Jason Bateman) and wife Robyn (Rebecca Hall) bump into Simon’s old schoolmate ‘Gordo’ (Joel Edgerton) while out shopping. As he presses his way into their lives, it becomes clear that he has a hidden agenda.

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Joel Edgerton directs, writes AND stars in this. You’ve got to give him credit for producing a decent film; it isn’t always a recipe for success (see Tommy Wiseau, The Room). The acting overall is very good, and Rebecca Hall’s American accent is flawless.

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There was just a tad too little suspense for my liking. They needed to turn up the thrill-meter. This could have made a huge difference to the film overall. If you compare this to something like Gone Girl, for example – in terms of being gripping, there is no comparison. Having said that, it is still entertaining. Just don’t expect too many thrills and you’ll enjoy it!

The Gift premieres in Sweden on October 2.

Black Mass

3 Stars

Welcome back, Johnny!

I have to say; it’s about time Johnny Depp went back to more serious roles like this. Granted, the hair and makeup department did have to pull out all the stops to make him look believable as aging gang leader James ‘Whitey’ Bulger, but his acting really carried it through.

The film is based on the true story of Bulger, an organized crime boss of the South Boston ‘Winter Hill’ gang. Whitey’s brother Billy (Bennedict Cumberbatch) is a senator, and his childhood friend John (Joel Edgerton) has since joined the ranks of the FBI. When John decides to enlist Whitey as an informant to take down a rival mafia gang he inadvertently gives him the ability to run rampant.

It wasn’t until I started to write this review that I realized how little there is to the film aside from some stellar acting performances. The fierceness of Depp as Whitey Bulger is probably the most entertaining part of all. He is completely ruthless and takes no prisoners. In true gangster style, he reserves all of his love and compassion for his family.

It’s an enjoyable film in general, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it.

Black Mass premieres in Sweden on September 25.

Irrational Man

3 Stars

Typical Woody Allen.

No one can mix the genres of comedy, romance and murder mystery quite like Woody can. In fact, no one else would probably even dare to try. As soon as you see his trademark typeface in the opening credits you know that you’re watching a Woody Allen™ movie and can rest assured it’s going to be good.

Jill (Emma Stone) is infatuated with her oddball psychology professor Abe (Joaquin Phoenix) who has completely lost his lust for life. As their friendship grows ever closer and Jill becomes more and more interested in Abe, she tries her best to revive his spirits but to no avail. That is, until a random overheard conversation in a diner turns his world upside down.

Irrational Man has quite a comfortable tempo, fast-paced enough to keep you interested, but still very down to earth and relaxed. It almost lulls you into a false sense of security. The crowning glory of the film is how perfectly it all ties up in the end – very reminiscent of Match Point. Special mention for Parker Posey, who is absolutely spot-on in her supporting role as Abe’s equally disillusioned fellow teacher, Rita.

So much more than your average romantic comedy, fans of Allen’s work will not be disappointed.

Irrational Man premieres in Sweden on October 2.