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By midlandsmovies, Apr 26 2020 09:45AM

The Gentlemen (2019) Dir. Guy Ritchie

Writer-director Guy Ritchie returns from his “little” dabble with Disney (Aladdin, $1 billion sales) with The Gentlemen - another cockney crime-caper starring Matthew McConaughey as a marijuana kingpin looking to sell his business and get out of the game.

McConaughey’s mix of toff and street smarts seem a cipher for Ritchie himself and the film pulls in the usual blend of stars playing geezers and gangsters throughout. The story is told in flashback, framed itself as a film script by Hugh Grant’s private investigator Fletcher, who regales what he knows to Raymond, McConaughey’s right-hand man played by Charlie Hunnam.

With characters named things like “Big Dave”, “Lord George” and “Dry Eye” and a mix of criminals going to drug dens on with the threat of guns and 'heavies', we’ve seen it all before and sadly, despite some self-parody in its film-within-a-film (kind of) construction, it’s ironic the structure is one of the worst things about it.

Hunnam has never been my cup of tea (he looks and acts a bit Tesco-value Tom Hardy here) but to be fair, he’s one of the most relatable characters as he tries to figure out what the bloody hell is going on.

However, Colin Farrell’s hilarious Irish boxing coach is the standout cameo. Can we get a spin off with him please? Ritchie has been very successful with his twisty gangster narratives but here the scenes were fun but most of them felt like the filmmaker treading water.

Hugh Grant is entertaining playing against type as a smarmy reporter with an East End accent and there a plenty of laughs scattered about, but for me, the film ended on a shrug of indifference.

Mostly solid across the board, fans of Ritchie will know what they’re going to get, but for me that’s part of the problem. We’ve seen Ritchie do this many times before and frankly far better.


Michael Sales

By midlandsmovies, Dec 6 2017 08:42PM

The Dark Tower (2017 film) Dir. Nikolaj Arcel

From the director of the critical hit Royal Affair (Danish: En kongelig affære) comes this adaptation, of sorts, of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. Having only passing knowledge (and interest) in King’s opus, the film acts as a ‘continuation’ of the book’s story which sees gunslinger Roland Deschain (Idris Elba) on a journey to protect the Dark Tower in a mythical world.

Matthew McConaughey sleepwalks through his performance as the Man in Black antagonist and the film encompasses a number of story threads from the 8-volume series in the hope to set up an ongoing franchise. However, we’ll be lucky to see even a second film in a movie filled with disappointing set pieces and to those unfamiliar with the work, like me, a whole host of fantasy gobbledegook about portals and reality-ending quests.

Much like my experience with Warcraft, the film struggles to explain its themes in a relatively short time (95 agonising minutes) – yet, on the other hand, I can also imagine fans screaming that the film’s length makes the long book far too simplistic at the same time. Therefore, satisfying neither audience it required to develop.

On the positive side, I enjoyed the set-up where a New York boy (Tom Taylor as Jake Chambers) has visions of another reality which subsequently come true, whilst McConaughey seeks a child with unsurpassable power for his evil ends, and their two paths intertwine.

However, I expect this Harry Potter-style discovery of a hidden magical world is hardly the depth the book’s fans needed or wanted. As the film drags towards its conclusion, a series of boring plot points are delivered in what appears to be a screenwriter’s nightmare to make sense of the book’s major scenes and it’s simply not engaging enough to stand on its own two feet.

The Dark Tower ends up being a boring stagnant journey that will struggle to entice new fans and no doubt fails to do justice to a complex novel series.


Midlands Movies Mike

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