Friday, 31 March 2017

Free Fire - Dir. Ben Wheatley

Beards, bullets and bloody-minded idiots collide in Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire: a lean, rollicking cinematic jolt to the senses.

An abandoned Boston warehouse is the meeting point for an arms deal between Irishman Chris (Cillian Murphy) and cocksure South African Verne (Sharlto Copley); each accompanied by a band of merry henchmen and mediators to ensure the deal goes smoothly. After rumblings of deceit and unsavoury transgressions emerge, the palpable tension is broken by gunfire and a chaotic fracas in the rubble ensues.

Friday, 3 March 2017

The Good, The Bad and The Box Office

26 films that collectively took less money at the U.S. box office than Suicide Squad did in just 3 days.

A majority of box-office headlines each week focuses on the big hitters, the franchise entries and sequels whose performance in the opening weekend is often taken as an indication of long-term financial success. Will film X surpass film Y? Will film X cross $1 billion gross worldwide? Has film X met box-office expectations?

Discussion of box office figures has gradually found its way into more and more online discussions, with larger box office takings often used as inherently flawed evidence to claim one film is better than another.

Away from the big franchises, there isn’t the same level of discussion. The reporting on smaller films is available if you want to read it but there’s less understanding as to what those figures mean. Is a $5 million opening weekend a good result? Will the film make back its budget? Does that matter?

In short, how much money do smaller releases take compared to the multi-million dollar blockbusters? In particular, I decided to see how these smaller releases compared to Suicide Squad, which was not only one of the year’s highest grossing releases, but was generally received poorly by critics (it holds a score of just 26% on Rotten Tomatoes).

Will Smith as Deadshot and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad.

Certain Women - Dir. Kelly Reichardt

Following the intense dam-busting thriller Night Moves, Kelly Reichardt returns with her sixth feature, Certain Women, her fourth in a notably prolific last decade. Based on a number of short stories by Maile Meloy, Certain Women tells loosely connected stories of three women living in weathered small town Montana.

Laura (Laura Dern) is a lawyer with an unsatisfied client, Gina is a wife and mother looking to bring her family closer together in their new home and a lonely horse rancher (Lily Gladstone) stumbles into a night class on the intricacies of school law.