Legend 2015: review

Legend is a pretty good film that could have been great, but isn’t because nothing really happens. Brian Helgeland, better known for Man on Fire and L.A. Confidential, did a good job adapting the book by John Pearson, into this film, but we all hoped he would have done a better job.

Legend Poster

With so much to work with and Tom Hardy in the leading role(s), it all seemed like the perfect recipe for what could have been a classic in a few years. Or maybe the British mafia isn’t as exciting as the American one.

As the film looks good, and it does have really good scenes, it is hard to tell if it was a lack of building the story up to something worth of a drama, or if it was just the editing to blame. Tom Hardy plays both Ronald and Reginald Kray, in this story about the famous identical twin gangsters of 1960s London. While this might sound like the wrong mix, Tom Hardy playing the Krays does not look or feel bad at all, not even during the scene where the brothers fight.

Legend 2015

While the film is about the Krays as gangsters, it does spend a lot of time focusing on their individual “romantic” relationships, rather than on the story that everyone wanted to see – the rise and fall of the Krays. With this in mind we are presented in detail with the relationship between Reggie and Frances Shea (Emily Browning), from start to finish, which seems to change the twin from the calm and calculated man into the violent and mindless gangster everyone thought he was.

In contrast, Ronnie was a medically declared psychopath with a very unpredictable personality, especially when he would not take his medication. Moreover, he was an open homosexual, a shocking thing to be in the 1960s, especially in the business of being a gangster. But everyone seemed to respect that, and whoever didn’t, they had to pay a painful price for it.

Brian Helgeland

The story goes back and forth between the separate lives of the Krays and their evolution as gangsters. Always having policemen Nipper Read (Christopher Eccleston) and Constable Scott (Joshua Hill) one step behind them, mostly thanks to Reggie. That until Ronnie decides to go after a rival gang, without any consideration for consequences, taking some of his own down along the way. This is the tipping point, where police take the lead with the help of Albert Donoghue, who turns from henchman to informant out of fear from the unpredictable Ronnie.

In the end, Emily Browning and Tom Hardy’s performances make up for the lack of a better told story. A gangster film should never be a “flat line” of events, even if it presents itself as a biography. Stories should be told with a bit more passion, otherwise there’s nothing to relate to or feel excited about. All in all, it is still a very interesting film and it does a good job of showing how organised crime had its hands in the right pockets, and how it almost managed to take over London.

Deadpool Review

Directed by Tim Miller and starring Ryan Reynolds as the lead actor, this action and adventure filled comedy lived up to the hype and then some.

By the time the film got released on the 10th of February 2016, the Deadpool marketing campaign managed to make this as famous as possible, definitely more famous than the actors we were all about to see on screen, and that includes Ryan Reynolds. What seemed like an eternity of trailers, promos, posters and what not, did not disappoint.

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The plot is good and everything fits – a former Special Forces soldier works now as a hired mercenary, but for all the good reasons. He helps teenage girls by protecting them from stalkers and the likes. At one point, Vanessa Carlyle (Morena Baccarin), steps into the picture as they meet and fall in love at a local bar. Everything seems to be just perfect until a year later when Wade Wilson (also known as Deadpool) collapses, with further investigations showing that he has cancer.

From here on everything goes a bit dark, Wade tries to push Vanessa away, to stop her from getting hurt as his illness is getting worse. He is then approached by someone who offers him a cure in the form of an experimental project. Struggling to make a decision, he leaves Vanessa in the middle of the night and accepts to join this secret program.

He is then faced with the reality of the program which went beyond healing his cancer. Being tortured by Anged Dust (Gina Carano), Wade Wilson realises that this is a program designed to create super humans with the help of mutations. Being disfigured as a result of the experiment he is then faced with another challenge – that Vanessa will reject him – therefore leading him on a path of revenge against the people that did this to him.

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With his newly acquired ability to heal from any wound and the self-appointed name of Deadpool he starts hunting down the ones responsible for destroying his life. As he comes to terms that he might need some help along the way, he persuades Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) to join him.  

As the movie ends with a very exciting battle, Deadpool is faced with the truth – there is no cure for his disfigurement. While Colossus tries to bring reason to the table, Deadpool still shoots Francis (Ed Skrein) ending the battle in a not-so-predictive manner. Although revengeful, the protagonist accepts his situation and reveals himself to Vanessa, who, although angry that she was made to think Wade was dead, is still very much in love with him and accepts him as who he is.

With all this in mind, the movie does a perfect job at keeping the audience laughing for the whole 108 minutes of it. A small surprise at the end lets us know that there’s going to be a second movie. And as we had hoped that this won’t disappoint, we are even more anxious for the next one. This was a movie that might change the superhero movies forever or create a whole new genre in itself. From the time of the first trailer until the end of the credits, the film checks all the boxes, making it a must-see even for those that are not a fan of the genre.

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Cowboys & Aliens: review

Jon Favreau, mostly known for being one of the producers behind the Iron Man franchise, took the task of directing this film back in 2011. While Cowboys and Aliens sounds like a mix as good as ice cream and beer, this is not what the film is.

You can see that Steven Spielberg got his hands dirty on this one as the first thing you get to think about when the first alien show up, was E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. And it is a good familiar feeling that makes everything look more promising than the premise of the film.

Cowboys & Aliens

The movie starts with Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) waking up in the middle of nowhere with a wound that he can’t remember getting, much like anything else. With an out-of-this-world bracelet (for that time and place) that he cannot get off, he is soon found by a group of not very friendly individuals that he swiftly gets rid of by showing some very good fighting skills. He then heads to a near town where he seeks to fix himself up, luckily being discovered by a priest that helps him out.

Jake heads to the town bar, meeting Percy Dolarhyde (Paul Dano), the son of a very powerful and ruthless local on the way. Jake humiliates him in a dispute, but the altercation is interrupted by Sheriff John Taggart, who arrests Percy for shooting the Deputy (Brian Duffy). In the bar, Jake meets Ella Swenson (Olivia Wilde), but before she can help him remember who he is, the Sheriff comes in to arrest Jake, as he is a wanted man.

With Jake and Percy chained together and on their way to the County Marshall, the Sheriff is met by a party of men led by Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford), the boy’s father who is demanding that he gets both men into his custody. Then, a light is shown in the distance, and as it approaches everyone realises that they are demons (aliens) and that they do not mean well. A fight breaks loose and as people are getting killed and kidnapped by the demons, Jake realises that his bracelet is a weapon. This is when he manages to take one of the flying alien ships down and make the others scatter.

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Next morning, a group of whoever is left alive gets together to track and find the demons, and release all of the people that got kidnapped. On the way, they are attacked by the former gang of Jake Lonergan and the demons as well. Ella gets seriously injured and most of the others flea, die or get kidnapped. As Jake tries to carry Ella back, they reunite with the group, only to be ambushed by a group of Native Americans. Assuming that Ella is dead, the natives throw her into the fire, only for her to come back to life unharmed, revealing the fact that she is an alien as well, from another planet that the demons destroyed previously.

As she unveils the story to everyone, they all join forces, including Jake’s old gang, in an attempt to destroy the demons and rescue the people that they have kidnapped. As everyone distracts them by drawing them out of their base, Jake and Ella sneak inside the mothership rescuing everyone who was left alive. But as the ship takes flight, Ella sacrifices herself in order to destroy any chance of them coming back to earth.

That sounds like a mouthful, but it is definitely a movie you have to watch, if not for the plot, then at least for the cast and for how good it looks, despite the weird mix between old and new. On the other hand, we also recommend you go one step further, onto the horror section, and watch It Follows by director David Robert Mitchell, and make a movie night marathon out of one of your weekends.