DVD

DVD review: Deadpool 2

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Two years ago, Marvel refreshed the superhero genre when they re-introduced Deadpool, an X-rated, fast-talking crime fighter like nobody else we’d seen in spandex on the silver screen. Now the fourth-wall smashing ‘merc with a mouth’ is back for his much-anticipated sequel. Directed by David Leitch, the plot sees Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) reunite with a gang of B-team X-Men members after he suffers a personal tragedy. They encounter a teen mutant who goes by the name Firefist (Julian Dennison) who is being targeted by Cable (Josh Brolin), a cybernetic soldier who has travelled back in time to save his family. To protect Firefist and bring down the villain of the piece, Deadpool must form his own alliance.

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DVD

DVD review: Life

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After proving to be more than capable in a number of different genres, Swedish director Daniel Espinosa delves into challenging sci-fi horror territory with Life. The story follows the studies of scientists aboard the International Space Station, on an explorative mission to find life on Mars. Led by Russian commander Katerina Golovkina (Olga Dihovichnaya), the crew consists of Dr David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal), pilot Rory (Ryan Reynolds), quarantine officer Miranda (Rebecca Ferguson), engineer Sho (Hiroyuki Sanada) and biologist Hugh (Ariyon Bakare). The team are initially delighted by their groundbreaking discovery of a living organism, which is later named Calvin, but are soon put in danger when it rapidly grows outwith their control.

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DVD

DVD review: Deadpool

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  After the release of a staggering 36 films since the turn of the century, we’ve come to know what to expect from films based on Marvel Comics, whether it’s an origin story or ensemble, or should that be ‘assemble’, piece where characters weave in and out of each others movies. In to mix up the formula as part of the X-Men series strand is self-referential comedy ‘Deadpool’, marking the directorial debut of Tim Miller, who is jokingly labelled an ‘overpaid tool’ in the titles. Ryan Reynolds takes the leading role, eager to leave the green mask of universally panned ‘Green Lantern’ behind him. The plot centres around mercenary Wade Wilson (Reynolds) who undergoes an experimental treatment that goes horribly wrong, but leaves him with superpowers. Out to reconcile with girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) and get revenge on villainous Ajax (Ed Skrein), can he undo the damage and get the girl?

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DVD

DVD review: Mississippi Grind

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In cinema, gambling has the tendency to be glamourised and sensationalised, casinos portrayed as slick, stylish dens where dreams come true and everyone goes home a winner. Showing the dirtier side of the coin, and tackling the addictiveness of the habit are writers and directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who are best known for their collaboration on Half Nelson, which told the story of a school teacher hooked on drugs. Their latest project ‘Mississippi Grind’ focuses in on Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn), a down-trodden chancer on a losing streak. At the poker table, he meets Curtis (Ryan Reynolds), a happy-go-lucky ladies’ man who likes a flutter but confidently claims that he doesn’t play to win. In an attempt to overturn Gerry’s misfortune and make enough profit to repay his debts, they embark on a betting-fuelled road trip down the Mississippi River.
  The buddy relationship that slowly develops at the epicentre of the plot holds interest throughout both their monetary and emotional highs and lows. Because of their flaws and the type of people they are, it is never entirely clear whether they are in fact playing one another, and an intriguing doubt lingers because of this. The clever writing succeeds in conveying a stark contrast between the bitter loneliness of losing alone in the times they are apart on screen, and the ecstasy and adrenaline in sharing a win with a friend. The visuals have a satisfying grubbiness to them that suits the subject matter completely, and the camera revels in long shots of dirty neon signs that juxtapose with the Las Vegas glitz the genre is heavily associated with.
  Ben Mendelsohn has a knack of taking acting jobs as dishevelled men with horrible attributes and injecting a likeability into their personas. For too long he has stolen the show in supporting parts with his charismatic performances and now he has a leading role and executes in a way that only he can. You celebrate with them and feel every bad beat as hard as he does, rooting for him not just to end his losing streak but to be dealt a winning hand in life, and more importantly not to ruin it. Reynolds excels in making Curtis everything that Gerry wants to be; confident, charming and of course lucky, but the trick to his multilayered performance is how he unveils enough vulnerability to let the audience into the secret that they are not so different. Curtis’ life is an act in itself.
  ‘Mississippi Grind’ is everything that a gambling film should be, in that it presents wins as mere glimmers of light in a never-ending tunnel of losses, and yet I still left the cinema with the urge to put a bet on. Boden and Fleck handle the overlooked topic realistically and intelligently, and with humour in just the right places. Mendelsohn and Reynolds strike up an unusual cinematic bromance on an entertaining road-trip. It’d be a joy to tag along as third wheel, as long as you know when to stop and get off.
4stars
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