DVD & Digital

DVD review: The Nice Guys


Shane Black is no stranger to the crime buddy movie genre, having penned the screenplays for the Lethal Weapon films through the late eighties and early nineties. Now, as a director and co-writer alongside Anthony Bagarozzi, he returns to the field for neo-noir comedy ‘The Nice Guys’ starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. When hard-man enforcer Jackson Healy (Crowe) is hired to rough up private eye Holland March (Gosling), to say they get off on the wrong foot would be an understatement. However, circumstances around the mysterious death of porn star Misty Mountains force them to form an unlikely alliance. Together the mismatched pair aim to track down a missing girl linked with the investigation, leading to an action-packed and hilarious wild-goose-chase through the underbelly of 1970s Los Angeles.

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DVD & Digital

DVD review: Noah


Projects which bring biblical stories to the big screen are often shrouded in controversy and Noah has expectedly followed suit. Is there room for creative licence when adapting chapters from the Old Testament? Is it possible to please everyone or are you guaranteed to cause offence? Luckily, the director at the helm is visionary risk-taker Darren Aronofsky, best known for his surreal style in films such as Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream. He makes this epic far more than a dull lesson in religious education but his auteurism is marred by the boundaries of the subject matter. In case anyone is unfamiliar with the story, Noah (Russell Crowe) is a strong family man who receives a spiritual message from God, or The Creator as he is referred to throughout the film. He assumes the responsibility to build an ark to survive an almighty flood, preserve the planet and save it from human destruction. The slant on this version is that there is a villain of the piece Tubal-Cain (Ray Winstone), who wants to kill Noah and have the ark for himself and his army.

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DVD & Digital

DVD review: Broken City


  ‘Broken City’ is a political crime thriller, starring Mark Wahlberg as ex-cop turned private investigator Billy Taggart and Russell Crowe as Mayor Nicholas Hostetler. When Taggart is in court, set to be imprisoned for the murder of a New York thug, the Mayor pulls some strings to get him off the hook. Seven years later, with an election looming, it’s payback time when the Mayor asks Taggart to track his wife as he suspects she is having an affair. This leads to more than we as an audience, and Taggart, are first led to believe, uncovering secrets and embroiling Taggart in Hostetler’s murky feuds, both politically and on a personal level.
  Nothing about ‘Broken City’ is original, each character flat and one dimensional, picked from the bargain bucket of film stereotypes and thrown together in a tired plot; the beaten down ex-cop with an alcohol problem, the crooked Mayor, more gangster than politician and the mysterious hard faced wife with a hidden vulnerability. However worn out the concept is, if you see past the ‘movie plot generator’ used to build it, it is a very enjoyable watch and I can think of worse ways to pass a couple of hours. It can be pleasant having the opportunity to sit back and take in the swooping location shots and admire the slick visuals, knowing the narrative will play out steadily where you expect it to, with no nasty surprises.
  I think even the stars suspect the predictable nature of the film, and seem to put that to one side and enjoy themselves which is great to see. Mark Wahlberg, who in recent roles seems to be either underplaying the super serious type, see The Fighter, or overplaying the goofball, see Ted, and here he manages to combine the two, portraying the tough guy with a sense of humour, and he is genuinely funny this time. Russell Crowe also seems very much at ease with his part, spouting lines with venom and giving dirty looks, behind the ‘good guy’ persona he flaunts to his voters. The script is fair, dialogue sub-standard but lifted by the performances. Kyle Chandler pops up yet again, perfecting the ‘angry man in suit’ part he seems to picking up in many of the recent releases and Zeta Jones is quietly passable, her screen presence juxtaposing her character’s fear of her husband.
  A decent attempt at rejuvenating a well known formula into something current though it falls short, lacking impact. On a brighter note, it’s a joy to watch the two stars give solid performances, sharing a few gripping scenes and aesthetically, it’s an ambitious homage, achieving the noir look it is going for. If the screenplay was as fitting a tribute as the visuals, then it would hold more value. Don’t expect this film to change your life, it won’t even make much of a difference to your week.


See the trailer: