Story by: Dean Crawford, Photos by:
If you’re a regular reader of this column, I’m guessing I’ve got a good idea what you think of me. You probably think that I’m some kind of turtle-neck wearing, red wine drinking film snob who only watches arthouse films that consist of a blue screen for 80 minutes – but you’d be wrong. I mean, sure, I have seen Derek Jarman’s Blue, and like, oh my god, it was so deep…or whatever, but I can’t deny that occasionally I like to switch off my brain and watch beautiful people drive fast cars. So you can imagine how excited I am with the news that the latest instalment of the Fast and Furious franchise is almost here!
The oddly titled Furious 7, sees Dom (Vin Diesel) and his crew back in the U.S after defeating Owen Shaw. However, their enjoyment is short-lived as Shaw’s brother, Deckard (Jason Statham) is looking for vengeance and is hunting them down one by one. Statham is the only new major addition to the cast, but what an addition he is! Tell me you’re not excited to see him and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson kick seven bells out of each other! However, an “aggressively accelerated timetable” meant that Justin Lin vacated the director’s chair and was replaced by Insidious director James Wan.
Despite my excitement, the release of Furious 7 will definitely be a bittersweet moment; the untimely passing of Paul Walker meant that his scenes had to be completed using a mixture of VFX and his brothers acting as body doubles. Word on the street is that rather than kill his character, which, let’s face it, would be in incredibly poor taste, O’Connor will “retire,” which, in my opinion, is a much more fitting ending. I know these films are popcorn fodder, but for many people, there is bound to be some emotional attachment involved in watching Paul Walker’s last movie. The least they can do is give his character a happy ending of sorts. So if this is true, I think it’s a fitting conclusion to the film.
Furious 7 is released April 2nd…which should give me more than enough time to get my turtle neck out of the dry cleaners.
A Most Violent Year
Director J.C. Chandor
2014 was undoubtedly a great year for us movie fans. The quality of independent films such as Boyhood and Birdman coupled with Hollywood blockbusters like Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Edge of Tomorrow made it feel like we were spoilt for choice each and every week. However, this meant that certain movies that might have gained traction in other years simply fell by the wayside. One of those films was A Most Violent Year, which was nominated for countless awards and even got a nomination at the Golden Globes, but just fell short when it came to the Oscars. Which, let’s face it, is the one that really counts when you’re looking for promotion on your movie posters.
Starring Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain, the film is set in 1981 New York, where immigrant businessman Abel Morales (Isaac) tries to keep his business and his family safe and legitimate during one of the most violent years in the city’s history.
While the premise has potential, the film doesn’t strike me as a “must-see” movie and I can see why it might have been overlooked by the masses. One thing that does make me want to see it, however, is the small but impressive body of work from the film’s director, J.C. Chandor. Margin Call was a tense look at the financial crisis and All is Lost starring Robert Redford as a sailor stranded at sea was a real surprise. Containing practically no dialogue, Chandor guided Redford to one of his best performances in years as well as delivering a gorgeous yet gripping look at one man’s battle with the elements.
Another reason to see the film is the versatile Oscar Isaac. I thought he was great in Inside Llewyn Davis and he put in another star turn in Alex Garland’s debut Ex Machina. We’ll see him next in what is quite possibly the most anticipated film ever, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens.
With a quality cast and a talented director, the film is currently sitting on a 90% certified fresh rating over at Rotten Tomatoes which means all signs are pointing towards another critical success for Chandor and Isaac. So if A Most Violent Year did escape your attention, like it did mine, luckily for us, it gets a Korean release on April 2nd.