Author: Pete Laurie

MOVIE REVIEW | Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “Possibly the most interesting movie in the Star Wars canon.”

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“Make ten men feel like a hundred.”

I’m a child of the 80s. The original Star Wars trilogy are three of the first movies I remember knowing and loving as a kid. I saw and hated the prequels, just like anyone of my generation should. And joined the same people in loving and praising the franchise’s return to form with The Force Awakens. Yet, for all of that, and despite the mostly good to great reviews for the series’ latest entry, I didn’t rush to immediately see that latest entry. But while  I might have been a bad Star Wars nerd by so late to the party, but now that I’ve seen it,  I’m eagerly jumping on the bandwagon and adding to the praise for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

As in all Start Wars stories, the central story is a young upstart, separated from their family, who is the key to saving the Galaxy.  This time it’s Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones). Years ago, her father (Mads Mikkelsen as Galen) was the key architect of the Death Star. Realising the devastation his invention will cause, he has chosen imprisonment at the hands of the Empire’s Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn). Before giving himself up, Galen managed to hide the young Jyn, who would go on to be raised as a badass by rebellion soldier Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker). (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Two for the Road (1967)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “The real reason to check this movie out is the darkness and melancholy that’s oozing out of the screen.”

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“Marriage is when the woman tells the man to take off his pajamas… and it’s because, she wants to send them to the laundry.”

I’m a big fan of Audrey Hepburn.  But as I was getting ready to write this review, I realised that I’m a casual fan who only knows her from her most famous roles.  I’ve never dug all that deep into the Audrey Hepburn canon and am really only familiar with the iconic movies in her filmography, like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, My Fair Lady, Roman Holiday and Sabrina.  With those sorts of movies forming my opinion of Hepburn, combined with the schmaltzy artwork on the cover of the $3 DVD I bought, I thought I knew what I was in for with Two for the Road.  I was wrong.

Hepburn is Joanna Wallace, the well kept wife of Mark (Albert Finney), a rich and successful architect.  Their marriage is in trouble, and the pressures of their current road trip across Europe is only making things more precarious.  Cue a series of flash backs to different parts of their relationship, showing that this isn’t their first, or even second road trip in this part of the world.  Each flashback shows a different stage of their relationship, giving a thorough evolution to the viewer. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Loving (2016)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “Breathes new life into the concept of the prestige, period piece biopic.”

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“Tell the judge, I love my wife.”

With Shotgun Stories, Jeff Nichols made a movie based on, “understandable antagonistic acts [that] get the ball rolling, and they build so incrementally, that once guns are being shoved in people’s faces and the odd skull gets caved in, you’re totally on board.”  Mud made me describe it’s main, child character as, “a certain blend of innocence and naivety, while also coming off as someone who’s already been there, seen it all and has no time for your bullshit.”  And I described Midnight Special as, “sci-fi spectacle [as] a Trojan horse for some really intimate, internal story telling”.

What I’m getting at is, Jeff Nichols has shown a knack for making the sensational real, for using pulp hyperbole to sneak in characters of believable substance, and for using overblown genre tropes to tell stories of what real life is all about.  And it’s a knack that is evident again as Nichols takes on the prestige, period piece biopic, with Loving. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW| Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “A compelling story, great acting, high drama, thrilling tension and a big payoff.”

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“They’re gonna kill you with no hard feelings.”

The top three highest grossing movies of last year were Captain America: Civil War, Finding Dory and Zootopia.  Many film purists might find it disheartening that only one of the three was based on a totally new property, but I’m troubled by a different trend of modern movie making.  While Finding Dory clocks in at an economical 97 minutes, Captain America and Zootopia will respectively take up 147 and 108 minutes of your life.  Of the rest of the movies that round out the top 10, only one is under 100 minutes.  And that one is The Secret Life of Pets, so I’m sure even its scant 87 minutes feel like a lot longer.

What I’m getting at is, most moves over 90 minutes don’t need to be.  Hardly any movie needs to break the two hour barrier.  But bigger budgets and bigger spectacles mean we are increasingly subjected to bigger ass aches as we are trapped in cinema seats for ever increasing amounts of time per movie.  But I have proof that you don’t always need a lot of time to fit in a lot of awesome.  You can have a compelling story, great acting, high drama, thrilling tension and a big payoff.  And you can have it all in 81 minutes, including credits, with Bad Day at Back Rock. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Moonlight (2016)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “It’s a tough watch, but tough in the way that a movie with this sort of subject matter should be.”

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“Running around, catching a lot of light. In moonlight, black boys look blue.”

Every year for at least the last five, I’ve made a point of watching every Academy Awards Best Picture nominee before the Oscars ceremony.  I’m enough of a move nerd and read enough pop culture news that I usually have a good idea of what will make the list long before its official, and I usually have a good idea of what every movie is, who made them and who stars in them.

This year, I was well and truly out of the loop, knowing close to nothing about several Oscar finalists.  Including Moonlight.  Before watching it, all I knew about this movie I had gleaned from its provocative poster design, which created some strong preconceptions.  What Moonlight delivered totally met and totally defied those preconceptions. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Arrival (2016)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says:Arrival takes itself very seriously.  Arrival tells an insane story.  What Arrival forgets to do is have fun with it.”
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“Memory is a strange thing.”

The academy awards have often been accused of being elitist. Only awarding highbrow, often little seen movies, so voters can feel smart.  One of the reasons the Best Picture category was opened up a few years ago to include up to 10 movies was so more crowd friendly, box office hits could be included, instead of exclusively recognising prestige, “important” movies. Last year was an example of that system working, with fun, genre escapism being nominated in the form of Mad Max: Fury Road and The Martian.  This year, the genre, blockbuster slot is filled by a far less worthy recipient, Arrival.

When giant, alien spacecraft appear in a dozen different places all over the globe, world leaders freak out as they try to determine if these visitors come in peace, or if they have something more threatening in mind.  Recruiting college professor and linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams), the American government makes contact with the seven limbed aliens they dub heptapods. Communication and translation proves to be a slow process, but piece by piece, Louise, along with physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), builds a rapport with extra-terrestrial visitors. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Manchester By the Sea (2016)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “I never once wondered why critics have been praising this movie as much as they have for an entire year.”
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“I said a lot of terrible things to you, my heart was broken, but I know yours was broken too.”

It might be hard to remember now, but there once was a time when La La Land wasn’t talked about as the clear front runner for every Oscar up for grabs this year, and probably even somehow retroactively winning a few from years gone by.  Yep, before it broke the record for most Golden Globe wins and topped the list for most number of Academy Award nominations this year, there was another movie that was getting all the Oscar buzz.  From this time last year when it showed at Sundance, to when it was eclipsed by La La Land a month or three ago, Manchester By the Sea was the belle of the Oscar speculation ball.  Now that I’ve seen both movies, the concept of somehow comparing the two to decide which is better seems kind of absurd.

Sad sack Boston janitor Lee (Casey Affleck) goes about his days unclogging toilets, shovelling snow and dealing with one annoying tenant after another.  It’s clear that Lee isn’t happy. He gets even less happy when he receives a call alerting him to his brothers’ (Kyle Chandler as Joe) death an hour and half away in the seaside, New England town of Manchester.  In and out of hospital for years with a heart condition, Joe’s death isn’t a surprise to Lee, what is a surprise is Joe’s will, announcing that Lee is now the legal guardian of Joe’s 16 year old son, Patrick (Lucas Hedges). (more…)