Archive for Vincent D’Onofrio

Review: The Magnificent Seven

Posted in Film with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2016 by Tom Austin-Morgan

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Yet another modern-day remake of a classic western that was itself a retelling of Seven Samurai.

This version of The Magnificent Seven is progressive in the it has a pretty good mix up of characters that make up the eponymous group of gunslingers. This gives the tensions within the group a certain sense of reality that other movie team-ups have to really labour the point to have you believe.

A big problem with this film is that it can’t quite decide whether it wants to be a comedy or a darker more serious film. It has a real schizophrenic quality that feels jarring, especially with such broad comedy in some scenes being followed by quite heavy scenes where some characters are dealing with the aftermath of post-traumatic stress.

There are some great action set pieces and some brilliant characterisations, most notably from Vincent D’Onofrio, but the tone of the film really lets it down.

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Anywhere But Here, Episode 126 – Spoilercast: Jurassic World

Posted in Podcast with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 11, 2015 by Tom Austin-Morgan

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As it’s Father’s Day and Ant’s off being treated, what better time to review and spoil Jurassic World?

Hear what Ant and Tom thought of the latest offering from the franchise that refuses to go extinct, and seems to comprise elements from all over the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Be warned: Here be spoilers… many, many spoilers!


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Review: Jurassic World

Posted in Film with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2015 by Tom Austin-Morgan

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22 years after the events of Jurassic Park and, coincidentally, 22 year in real life too, the four film in the franchise that refuses to go extinct picks up. Without a trace of continuity referencing The Lost World: Jurassic Park or Jurassic Park III. So, finally, we can disregard those films.

Jurassic Park has been re-opened, despite the horrors that happened there in the past and the warnings of Dr Ian Malcolm and Dr Alan Grant. Apparently, the world has become blasé about dinosaurs and what the punters want now is bigger, louder animals with more teeth.

The scientists at the park have decided to appease the focus groups and the park’s sponsors by creating a hybrid from various strands of DNA from other dinosaurs and animals. The result is the Indominus Rex, a giant, aggressive, intelligent, colour-changing predator. What a great idea! This’ll give the adults nightmares, never mind the kids says the astonished park manager, Simon Masrani (played by Irrfan Khan).

Khan’s character is a mix of John Hammond’s heart and a corporate number-cruncher, in that he still has a wide-eyed child not too far under his business-like exterior. Whereas Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire is all about the focus groups, numbers and contracts.

Claire’s nephews are visiting the park while their parents go through a divorce and Claire has no time to show them round, so entrusts them to her assistant. They give the assistant the slip and go off on their own to have fun. Meanwhile, we’re introduced to Chris Pratt’s ex-navy-turned-Velociraptor-trainer, Owen, who – it’s obvious – has a past with the cold Claire. Owen saves an intern who falls into the raptor pen and shows off his mutual respect with the beasts who don’t instantly rip him to shreds. He is also having a back-and-forth with Vincent D’Onofrio’s InGen security manager, Hoskins. Hoskins is looking to use the raptors in the field of war rather than drones or robots, which is a ludicrous idea even for a Jurassic Park film.

All this happens in the first half an hour before the Imdominus Rex escapes to wreak havoc on the dinosaurs and humans alike. So there’s a heck of a lot of set-up before all the action takes place, which would lead you to think that the script would be quite complex. It isn’t. It’s a Jurassic Park film.

After the I-Rex escapes things start to pick up quite drastically with all the elements that you’ve come to expect from these films in the last two decades; tension, jump-scares, implied gore, loud roars, running and driving and screaming, with a decent amount of humour thrown in.

There are some brilliant set pieces that take you right back to the first time you saw that Brachiosaurus for the first time. The visual effects are, expectedly great and it’s great to see these animals back in the cinema again and Chris Pratt is a charisma machine, but there are a few things missing. For one, John Williams is sorely missed. Michael Giacchino is a great composer, but Willliams’ shoes are too big for him to fill. There’s a distinct lack of T-Rex, which is a shame and the plot is so predictable that you can spot all the big reveals coming a mile off.

It’s big, loud fun while it’s happening, but after you leave the cinema you’ll have forgotten the majority of it, which is a shame because it’s actually the second best of the four films. It has a meta quality to it where it excuses what’s going on by highlighting the ridiculousness of its plot and calling them out, and this is the reason it scores higher the other two films. However, no one will ever touch the original.