Review: Last Vegas (2013)

Last Vegas

Inspired by the universal success of The Hangover trilogy (Todd Phillips’ films have amassed a whopping $1.4M at the worldwide box office), Last Vegas assembles a quarter of Hollywood’s most revered actors for a sleek R-rated comedy. Unfortunately, and in spite of its best intentions and heavyweight credentials, the film never quite lives up to its potential, resulting in a film that’s flat and uninspired. Continue reading “Review: Last Vegas (2013)”

Review: The Family (2013)

The Family

The Family hails from Nikita and Léon writer, director and producer extraordinaire Luc Besson. But, while it’s decently made and contains an assortment of stout performances from a host of competent actors, it never reaches the heights it so ambitiously aims for, and will undoubtedly leave a sense of utter – and entirely valid – amazement as to how it’s possible for so much to go so drastically wrong when so many talented individuals are involved lingering in the air long after the end credits roll. Continue reading “Review: The Family (2013)”

Review: The Big Wedding (2013)

The Big Wedding

An all-star cast fall victim to a shallow, tasteless script in The Big Wedding, the latest in the line of lacklustre comedies to hit cinema screens this year. This one though, which was adapted from the well-received French romantic comedy Mon Frère Se Marie, heralds a new low with its arrival – one that proves that no matter how much money or A-list stars you throw into the mix, if the material isn’t up to scratch, then there’s no point in even bothering. Continue reading “Review: The Big Wedding (2013)”

Review: Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

After spending the past eight months undergoing therapy in a mental institution, former high school teacher Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) returns to suburban Philadelphia and into the lives of his parents, Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro) and Dolores (Jacki Weaver). Wasting no time in attempting to straighten himself up and win back his wife, Pat comes to a deal with Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a troubled widow and force of nature, that sees him become her partner for a Continue reading “Review: Silver Linings Playbook (2012)”

Review: Red Lights (2012)

Parapsychologists Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) and Tom Buckley (Cillian Murphy) spend their lives travelling around the country refuting claims of the supernatural and ridiculing those phony psychics who frequently work against the law to fool unsuspecting members of the public. However, when acclaimed psychic Simon Silver (Robert De Niro) re-emerges from hiding, a figure whose powers are seemingly foolproof, Margaret and Tom must step-up Continue reading “Review: Red Lights (2012)”

Review: Limitless (2011)

Directed by Neil Burger, Limitless is a techno-thriller based on the Alan Glynn novel: The Dark Fields.

A copywriter, Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper), discovers a top-secret drug which bestows him with super-human abilities. As his usage begins to change his life, he starts to consider the drugs shadowy origins. Meanwhile, a group of killers follow his every move.

This premise is very interesting and, while far-fetched, touches upon some pretty serious issues – the most important being drug usage and addiction. This helps keep the somewhat implausible scenario grounded.

However, despite effectively letting the audience bring their own experiences to the table, none of the issues are wrapped up in a clear and dignified manner, and are often skimmed over with an irritating level of disregard.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as, along with Cooper’s tongue-in-cheek performance, the narrative manages to remain simplistic enough throughout, never taking itself too seriously. It’s only in the final act, where all the loose ends are being haphazardly pieced together, that the cracks are exposed.

Similarly, characters are introduced left, right and centre – and disposed of almost as quickly. Understandably, the film is too short to explore everyone’s backstories, but certain people – such as Anna Friel’s Melissa and Abbie Cornish’s Lindy – are too fascinating to be so brazenly wasted.

Burger is clearly an extremely talented filmmaker. He creates a very stylized, visually intriguing world: a dimension that wonderfully emphasizes what the characters experience when ingesting the harmless-looking NZT-48 pill.

Cooper embodies Eddie perfectly, continuing his growth as a very adept actor. There’s something enthralling in his impoverished style that makes him wholly appealing, and the ideal choice for the role.

Eddie’s first-person narration, with its deliriously fast pace, not only compliments the visual side effects of the pill, but also offers a smart insight into the serious impacts drug-taking can have on an individuals lifecycle.

Robert De Niro delivers a solid turn as businessman Carl Van Loon, but feels an odd fit for such a under-developed and audacious character.

Abbie Cornish and Johnny Whitworth are believable enough in their respective roles, and Anna Friel brings an oddly likable, honest and raw nature to Eddie’s ex-wife. Nevertheless, none are employed as much as their talents demand.

Limitless, on the whole, is harmless entertainment and, at 105 minutes, offers a pleasant enough distraction, even managing to pose some meaningful, thought-provoking questions along the way.