In the latest episode of The Popcorn Conspiracy David Griffiths and Kyle McGrath take a look at the brand new Liam Neeson film The Marksman.
In the latest episode of The Popcorn Conspiracy David Griffiths and Kyle McGrath take a look at the brand new Liam Neeson film The Marksman.
Summary: A rancher finds himself in a vicious war about the cabal after he tries to rescue a mother and her son.
Cinema Release Dates: 21st January 2021 (Australia), 15th January 2021 (USA)
VOD Release Dates: TBA
Director: Robert Lorenz
Screenwriter: Chris Charles, Danny Kravitz, Robert Lorenz
Cast: Kellen Boyle (Dalton), Christian Hicks (Danny), Roger Jerome (Otto), Dylan Kenin (Randall), Antonio Leyba (Rigo), Jose Mijangos (Emilio), Liam Neeson (Jim), Jacob Perez (Miguel), Yediel Quiles (Jorge), Alfredo Quiroz (Carlos), Juan Pablo Raba (Mauricio), Luce Rains (Everitt), Ann Barrett Richards (Bartender Clara), Sean A. Rosales (Hernando), Teresa Ruiz (Rosa), Jose Vasquez (Isidro), Katheryn Winnick (Sarah)
Running Time: 108 mins
Classification: M (Australia), PG-13 (USA)
David Griffiths’ The Marksman Review:
If Clint Eastwood watches The Marksman and then says “that Irishman is taking my roles” then you really couldn’t blame him. The Marksman’s hero Jim is almost your stereotypical Eastwood role. A rancher, almost disenfranchised with the world around him who is lost in his sorrow and doesn’t mind a good drink now and then. Also like most Eastwood films this is a film with grit that is certainly a must see in the cinemas.
As you would guess Jim (Liam Neeson – The Grey) is a bit of a loner. He has been that way since the death of his wife a few years earlier. He spends his days working on his hard-hit ranch and occasionally helping out the US Border Forces when he finds illegal aliens who have made the dangerous trip over the Mexico/US border.
Jim is not a snitch though, no it seems like he phones in his reports due to the fact that his step-daughter Sarah (Katheryn Winnick – Vikings) works for the border forces. However Jim sees a different side to the aliens crossing the border when he finds himself helping young Miguel (Jacob Perez – Papa Bear) and his mother Rosa (Teresa Ruiz – Narcos: Mexico) who cross the border with the cartel hot on their tail.
The resulting fire-fight sees Jim shoot dead several of the cartel members including the brother of determined leader Mauricio (Juan Pablo Raba – Peppermint) who then uses his corrupt colleagues to find his way into American and look for vengeance.
The plot of The Marksman is pretty simple. An ex-vet drives across country with a young refugee while being pursued by the cartel – it certainly wouldn’t have taken a scriptwriting genius to come up with the pretence. Why the film works is because director Robert Lorenz (Trouble With The Curve) and his other screenwriters steer the film away from the genre’s clichés and continually come up with the creative ways to see Jim and the cartel cross paths.
At times the film’s ‘road-trip’ vibe is a reminder of films like Roadkill and once the audience learns that no character is safe the film takes on a whole new level of suspense. It is that suspense and the great characterisation of Jim and Miguel that hold this film together. Yes, the character of Mauricio is a little stereotypical but at the same time he is so blood-thirsty it makes him a dangerous adversary that you never can predict the nature or actions of.
The real strength of this film though is the acting of Liam Neeson. Whether Neeson had made his mind up about walking away from action films before he made this film I guess we will never know but if this is his finale than at least he can say that he went out on top. So many action heroes turn up to make a film like this and bring nothing to the role – that certainly isn’t the case with Neeson playing rancher Jim.
Neeson puts life into Jim. He makes you care about the character and he can say more with one glance or facial expression that a page full of dialogue could. I recently said that with Honest Thief Neeson looked and showed his age, especially with some laboured chase scenes, but that certainly isn’t the case here. Here Neeson is reminiscent of Clint Eastwood in The Mule or Gran Torino. He is playing his age and it works. Yes this might just be an action drama but Neeson certainly brought his A-Game to the table.
The other strength to The Marksman is the fact that the film shows that every refugee has their own story but it never becomes preachy. There are no ‘up on the box’ moments as Jim launches into a ‘everybody must listen to this’ monologue. No instead the film simply tells the story at hand – a young boy needs the help of an American citizen in order to survive. It is surprising just how more powerful that makes the film.
The Marksman might not be the masterpiece that Let Him Go was but as far as modern day westerns go it is well worth a look. Suspenseful and brought alive by the talents of its leading man this is a film I more than happy to go back and re-visit.
Dave’s rating Out Of 5
Kyle McGrath’s The Marksman Review:
Kyle’s Score Out Of 5:
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In this episode of The Popcorn Conspiracy Dave Griffiths and Kyle McGrath take a look at new Liam Neeson thriller Honest Thief.
Summary: A successful bank robber wants to start a new life with the woman that he loves. But dobbing himself into the FBI doesn’t go as he had planned.
Cinema Release Dates: 5th November (Australia), 13th October (Thailand), 23rd October (UK), 16th October 2020 (USA)
VOD Release Dates: TBA
Director: Mark Williams
Screenwriter: Steve Allrich, Mark Williams
Cast: Jai Courtney (Agent Nivens), Jeffrey Donovan (Agent Meyers), Jasmine Cephas Jones (Beth Hall), Liam Neeson (Tom), Patty O’Neil (Sharon Baker), Robert Patrick (Agent Sam Baker), Anthony Ramos (Agent Hall), Kate Walsh (Annie), Birol Taran Yildiz (Boss Mike)
Running Time: 99 mins
Classification: M (Australia), 15 (Thailand), 15 (UK), Pg-13 (USA)
David Griffiths’ Honest Thief Review:
At 68 years of age you could forgive actor Liam Neeson if he wanted to slow down. The good news for film lovers is that Neeson isn’t showing any sign of wanting to jump out of the fast lane any time soon. In fact while most actors have been starved of cinema time in 2020 Neeson is so hard working that he has two films released despite the pandemic.
Earlier this year we had a chance to watch his comedy Made In Italy and now we see him return to his more familiar crime thriller genre with Honest Thief. But be warned if you are expecting to see Neeson pull out his acting A-Game like he did in Schindler’s List or turn all Taken action star – think again. Honest Thief is very much a film that wasn’t too sure what it wanted to be.
Directed by Mark Williams (A Family Man) Honest Thief finds Neeson playing Tom, a gifted bank robber who has amassed $9 million in takings from a decade long crime spree that has left the FBI completely bewildered.
That all changes though when Tom meets the lovely Annie (Kate Walsh – Grey’s Anatomy) when she sells him storage space. He instantly falls in love and as the pair decide to settle down Tom hatches up a plan that will see him dob himself into the FBI and hand back all the money that he stole in return for a short two year jail sentence. It all sounds great in theory and probably would have worked if the Agent who turned up to make the deal wasn’t the corrupt Agent Nivens (Jai Courtney – Terminator Genisys).
Yes, reading through the plot you can see that Honest Thief sets itself up to be a Fugitive style thriller, but sadly something went horribly wrong in the screen-writing of this film. It seems that somewhere along the line the team of screenwriters, Williams and Steve Allrich (The Canyon) became unsure whether this should be a thinking person’s thriller or an all action affair with car chases and shootouts. The result is a film that has a confusing, mixed pace to it that closely resembles more of the B-Grade films that Allrich normally writes than a film that is worthy to have acting royalty like Liam Neeson in it.
Don’t get me wrong – the story does work and characters like Tom, Annie and Nivens are interesting enough but there is a huge problem with the pace of the film. It will go from a heart-pounding tense scene with Tom facing off against Nivens straight into a six minute dialogue driven snooze-fest scene between Tom and Annie. It feels like lighting a campfire and then pouring water on it before anyone has time to cook the marshmallows.
That certainly wasn’t what I was expecting from a film with Williams at the helm. Over the past couple of years Williams has shown with his producing that he is normally attracted to gritty projects. Shows like the amazing Ozark and the amazing Ben Affleck led The Accountant have led us to expect quality product with Williams attached to it, but with Honest Thief you are left wishing that more grittiness could have been injected into it.
The lacklustre screenplay means you never really get to see Neeson in full flight but he does enough to make you like Tom as a character and you are hoping that justice is served in his favour. The real winner here is Courtney. Like he did with Buffaloed earlier this year he relishes the opportunity to play the bad guy and is never over-awed with the scenes that he shares with Neeson. With the body of work that he has amassed over the past few years Courtney is becoming one of the most intriguing actors in Hollywood at the moment.Honest Thief is certainly not one of Liam Neeson’s best films but some Neeson is better than no Neeson at all, right? In a year where we have all been starved for cinema release films Honest Thief may just attract more fans than it normally would.
Dave’s Rating Out Of 5:
Kyle McGrath’s Honest Thief Review:
Kyle’s Rating Out Of 5:
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You can read our review of Honest Thief that appeared in The Phuket News here.
Summary: The surviving members of the resistance face the First Order once again, and the legendary conflict between the Jedi and the Sith reaches its peak bringing the Skywalker saga to its end.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 19th December 2019
Thailand Cinema Release Date: 19th December 2019
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: United States
Screenwriter: J.J. Abrams, Chris Terrio
Cast: Gerald W Abrams (Captain Cypress), J.J. Abrams (D-O (voice)), Naomi Ackie (Jannah), Josef Altin (Pilot Vanik), John Boyega (Finn), Lynn Robertson Bruce (D-O/Sith Alchamist), Dave Chapman (BB-8), Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker (voice)), Richard Coombs (Maz Kanata), Aidan Cook (Boolio), Liam Cook (Ochi of Bestoon), Olivia d’Abo (Luminara Unduli (voice)), Anthony Daniels (c-3PO), Harrison Davis (Pommet Warrick), Warwick Davis (Wicket W. Warrick), Matt Denton (Maz Kanata), Mandeep Dhillon (Lieutenant Garam), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka Tano (voice)), Amir El-Masry (Commander Track), Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa (archival footage)), Cailey Fleming (Young Rey), Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Geff Francis (Admiral Griss), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), Richard E. Grant (General Pryde), Greg Grunberg (Snap Wexley), Alec Guiness (Obi Wan Kenobi (voice)), Robin Guiver (D-O), Amanda Hale (Officer Kandia), Jennifer Hale (Aayla Secura (voice)), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Claire Roi Harvey (Maz Kanata), Shirley Henderson (Babu Frik (voice)), Carolyn Hennesy (Demine Lithe), Brian Herring (BB-8), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), Josefine Irrera Jackson (Young Rey), Samuel L. Jackson (Mace Windu (voice)), James Earl Jones (Darth Vader (voice)), Paul Kasey (Cai Threnalli), Nick Kellington (Klaud), Diana Kent (General Engell), Amanda Lawrence (Commander D’Arcy), Denis Lawson (Wedge Antilles), Billie Lourd (Lieutenant Connix), Ian McDiarmid (Emperor Palpatine), Ewan McGregor (Obi Wan Kenobi (voice)), Dominic Monaghan (Beaumont), Tanya Moodie (General Parnadee), Liam Neeson (Qui-Gon Jinn (voice)), Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata), Frank Oz (Yoda (voice)), Simon Paisley Day (General Quinn), Angelique Perrin (Adi Gallia (voice)), Freddie Prinze Jnr. (Kana Jarrus (voice)), Mike Quinn (Nien Nunb), Daisy Ridley (Rey), Vinette Robinson (Pilot Tyce), Alison Rose (Lieutenant Draper), Kipsang Rotich (Nien Nunb (voice)), Keri Russell (Zorii Bliss), Philica Saunders (Tabala Zo), Andy Serkis (Snoke (voice)), Kiran Shah (Nambi Ghima), Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca), Hassan Taj (R2-D2), Chris Terrio (Colonel Aftab Ackbar (voice)), Lee Towersey (R2-D2), Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico), Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), John Williams (Oma Tres), Patrick Williams (Boolio (voice)), Debra Wilson (Nambi Ghima (voice)), Tom Wilton (Colonel Aftab Ackbar), Matthew Wood (Cai Threnally (voice))
Running Time: 142 mins
Classification: M (Australia) TBC (Thailand)
Dave Griffiths Review:
It has taken forty-two years to get there, but finally the Skywalker saga is drawing to a close. No other cinematic franchise has ever reached the massive heights that Star Wars has and to say that this is a beloved series is under-selling it in a very big way. It is for that reason that J.J. Abrams has had one of the most difficult jobs that any filmmaker could ever dream of, it is up to him to close this much loved chapter in the Star Wars story in a way that will please a legion of fans world-wide.
Leading into Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker that story had been thrown into turmoil both on and off the screen. On screen we saw the death of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and the apparent return of Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid). Off screen all Star Wars fans were rocked with the tragic death of actress Carrie Fisher which they knew would impact the storyline of the final film.
Abrams doesn’t leave fans waiting with The Rise Of Skywalker very quickly getting down to business. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is on the hunt for Palpatine, while Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Oscar Isaac) and Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) search for an artefact that will allow Rey (Daisy Ridley) to face Palpatine, while they try to stop the massive First Order forces who are ready to once again take over the universe.
The plot maybe simple but certainly does not fail to entertain. Early on the film feels episodic simply moving from one story to another in a specific order but once it breaks those shackles the film mirrors the energy and entertainment that we all come to love from the original Star Wars films. But while the film does entertain it also does have its flaws. With the plot having so much going on there are times when it feels like it doesn’t spend enough time raising the levels of suspense, something that is very surprising considering that some of the lives in danger here are some of the most loved characters in cinematic history.
Still for the most of the part of the film Abrams keeps things simple but effective. Once it established that all characters could meet their end this time around that goes some way to keeping the audience on their toes while the final epic battle is something that true Star Wars fans have dreamt of for a long time. Unlike a lot of franchises this chapter does close with a finale that will leave fans happy and is should be noted that Disney does leave the door slightly ajar if they ever wish to continue the saga.
What makes this instalment so enjoyable though is the acting, and that is not something we have been able to say about every Star Wars instalment. Adam Driver shows in this film why he is one of the best actors in Hollywood at the moment. It is obvious that he doesn’t move into a lower acting gear because he is in an epic blockbuster here, instead he puts as much drama and emotion into his Marriage Story and Paterson… the former role which is talked about possibly earning him an Oscar nomination.
Driver is well matched on screen by Daisy Ridley whose acting prowess has continued to grow throughout this trilogy. Johy Boyega and Oscar Isaac also deliver their goods but at the end of the day this film is literally Driver versus Ridley and that shows right up to the last amazing and memorable crescendo.
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker is a film that is going to be embraced by the hardened Star Wars fans out there, something we can breathe a sigh of relief over since the disappointment of the Game Of Thrones finale. The Rise Of Skywalker is light but thoroughly entertains.
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Our Stars Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker review that appeared in ‘The Phuket News’ can be read at this link – https://www.thephuketnews.com/rise-of-the-skywalker-will-give-you-palpatations-74177.php
Thanks to our good friends at Studio Canal Subculture has ten double passes to giveaway to the brand new film Cold Pursuit which hits cinemas on Feb 7th.
To WIN simply go to our Facebook page and tell us what your favourite Liam Neeson movie is.
Welcome to Kehoe, it’s -10 degrees and counting at this glitzy ski resort in the Rocky Mountains. The local police aren’t used to much action until the son of unassuming town snowplough driver, Nels Coxman (Liam Neeson – Schindler’s List, The Grey), is murdered at the order of Viking (Tom Bateman – Murder On The Orient Express, Da Vinci’s Demons), a flamboyant drug lord. Fueled by rage and armed with heavy machinery, Nels sets out to dismantle the cartel one man at a time, but his understanding of murder comes mainly from what he read in a crime novel. As the bodies pile up, his actions ignite a turf war between Viking and his long-standing rival White Bull (Tom Jackson – Star Trek: The Next Generation, Skinwalkers), a soulful Native-American mafia boss, that will quickly escalate and turn the small town’s bright white slopes blood-red. In-Cinemas February 7.
Cold Pursuit will be released in Australian cinemas through Studio Canal on the 7th February 2019.
The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest, most global threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization… and now you can view it all in this brand new trailer.
Directed by F. Gary Gray and starring Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Rebecca Ferguson, Liam Neeson and Emma Thompson Men In Black: International will be released in cinemas on the 13th June, 2019.
When a seasoned actor like Liam Neeson tells you that his latest film made him cry you not only sit up and take notice but you realise that as a cinema lover you are about to watch a film that really means something.
Long before he was chasing bad guys in Taken or taking on Jedi skills in Star Wars Neeson worked on some of the most emotional films that Hollywood has ever seen – from the brilliant portrayal of a man overcome with grief during World War II in Schindler’s List through to Gangs Of New York and Les Miserables… Neeson knows a thing or two about films that are going to emotionally affect their audience.
When Neeson sits down to talk about his brand new film A Monster Calls – in which he voices the monster – his excitement and commitment to the film are clearly evident and you can tell that this wasn’t a film that he needed much persuading to be involved with. “It’s magical realism,” he says with his eyes lighting up. “It’s a fable about the complexity of our emotions, and how we navigate that complexity as we are growing up. The film is as rich and as imaginative as the book is – it’s quite a cinematic achievement. The subjects that the film deals with are how to grow as a young boy and how to handle very, very complex emotions, especially when a lot of those emotions deal with loss, death and it looks at where you fit in the world – especially when you are at school, and we have all been through that and we have all have tales to tell. The book and the film both very, very beautifully navigates you through this web of heavy and extreme and grey moral issues that all young boys and girls are confronting these days.”
Even Neeson’s role is very much full of subtext and is perhaps the most important character in the entire film. “I plays a character called The Monster,” he explains. “He is conjured up in our young heroes mind. He is like thirty metres tall, he is huge. He comes from the Earth and he is essentially made of the Earth – timber and trees – ancient trees at that – and he represents the universe.”
Neeson is quick to admit that one of the reasons why he wanted to be part of the film was because it had director, J.A. Bayona, at the helm. “I saw two of his films – The Orphanage and The Impossible – and they kind of blew me away. I thought ‘wow here’s a real cinema talent.’ So when I heard that he was doing Patrick Ness’s book A Monster Calls, which I had read, I thought that was a marriage made in heaven right there. Working with J.A. Bayona has been one of those unique experiences that you don’t come across very often. I’ve done 63 or 64 films and every so often you work with a director who just takes you into their world and takes you into the world of the film that they are shooting, He eats, sleeps and drinks films – film and cinema – he’s a little walking encyclopaedia – in fact he is very much like Martin Scorsese. He takes care of you as a director, he nurtures you – he nurtures the performers in the scene, he even nurtures the scene. He allows you to experiment and he just wants you to get to the truth of what the scene is and he will takes as long as it takes to get there and I love working with a director like that.”
With a film that has obviously left an impression on Neeson himself he has no trouble explaining what he thinks audiences will be left feeling after they have viewed it. “It think audiences will be stunned by the technical achievement of not just the motion capture but how it integrates with the story and it is a very moving story, a very, very beautifully written story and it has been very beautifully acted. There is some comedy in it but I think audiences will connect with the emotion in a very, very big way.”
The beautiful and moving A Monster Calls will be released in Australian cinemas on 27th July.
Entourage picks up where the television series left off but with a couple of changes. Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven – Old School) takes on the new role of a studio boss and he instantly places his head on the chopping block when he gives his star client Vince (Adrian Grenier – The Devil Wears Prada) the rights to direct a mega blockbuster film called Hyde. This is a move that Hollywood quickly slams pointing out that Vince and his producer/manager Eric (Kevin Connolly – The Notebook) are ill equipped to be in charge of such a big film. The result is that soon Ari is being hauled over the coals by his boss John Ellis (Alan Dale – Captain America: The Winter Soldier) and the executive producer’s over zealous son Travis McCreadle (Haley Joel Osment – The Sixth Sense) who decides straight away that he wants Vince’s brother, Johnny Drama’s (Kevin Dillon – Platoon) scenes cut from the movie.
Things aren’t much better on the personal front for our stars either. Vince’s marriage ends after nine days, Eric’s realationship with Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui – Wrong Turn) is strained despite the fact she is about to give birth, Johnny’s one night stand ends up in a sex tape while Turtle (Jerry Ferrara – Lone Survivor) who is now a millionaire suddenly finds himself with the hots for MMA star Ronda Rousey (herself – Furious 7).
Australian Cinema Release Date: 4th June, 2015
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Doug Ellin
Screenwriter: Doug Ellin, Rob Weiss
Cast: Nina Agdal (Bridgite), Jessica Alba (herself), Raquel Alessi (Jennifer), David Arquette (himself), Tom Brady (himself), Warren Buffettt (himself), Gary Busey (himself), Brian Carenard (Saigon), Emmanuelle Chriqui (Sloan), Andrew Dice Clay (himself), Rhys Coiro (Billy Walsh), Common (himself), Kevin Connolly (Eric), Mark Cuban (himself), Alan Dale (John Ellis), Baron Davis (himself), Billy Dec (himself), Kevin Dillon (Johnny Drama), Christine Donlon (Paula), Nora Dunn (Dr. Deanne Emily Marcus), Lucas Ellen (Jonah), Alice Eve (Sophia), David Faustino (himself), Jon Favreau (himself), Jerry Ferrara (Turtle), Sabina Gadecki (Melanie), Kelsey Grammer (himself), Jim Gray (himself), Adrian Grenier (Vince), Rob Gronkowski (himself), Armie Hammer (himself), Tameka Harris (herself), Thierry Henry (himself), Terrence Jenkins (himself), Martin Landau (Bob Ryan), Matt Lauer (himself), Rex Lee (Lloyd), Chad Lowe (himself), Tim Maculan (Dr. Feldman), Sonny Marinelli (Randy), Clay Matthews (himself), Debi Mazar (Shauna), Maria Menounos (herself), Scott Mescudi (Allen), Alyssa Miller (herself), Piers Morgan (himself), Shad Moss (Charlie Williams), Liam Neeson (himself), Ed O’Neill (himself), Haley Joel Osment (Travis McCredle), Henry Penzi (himself), Shervin Pishevar (himself), Jeremy Piven (Ari Gold), Breanne Racano (Katie), Emily Ratajkowski (herself), Perrey Reeves (Mrs. Ari), Rocky (Arnold), Ronda Rousey (herself), Bob Saget (himself), David Spade (himself), Nick Smyth (Alex), T.I. (himself), George Takei (himself), Billy Bob Thornton (Larsen McCredle), Mike Tyson (himself), Dominico Vacca (himself), Scott Vener (himself), Mark Wahlberg (himself), Pharrell Williams (himself), Russell Wilson (himself), Constance Zimmer (Dana Gordon)
Runtime: 104 mins
This is the first time ever in my career that I have ever written a biased review. See I’m not stupid enough to know that if 80% of the people on this planet walked into a cinema to watch Entourage they would not like… possibly a great deal of them would even despise it. But see I am unashamed huge fan of the television series that sparked this movie and despite a lot of press saying the opposite there is no way that anybody who had never seen (or hated) the television series would ever like this film, or even possibly understand one single thing that is going on throughout the film. So yes this is a review written by a very biased Entourage fan who was as excited about this film arriving as I was about any other blockbuster this year.
The thing that works best and is going to appeal to fans of the television series is the fact that screenwriter/director Doug Ellin (Kissing A Fool) didn’t decide to do what most television spin off movies do and make the film too different from the television series. There’s no sending the cast into space or back in time or any of that crap, no instead he literally makes the film feel like an extended television episode. To a certain extent he even has the ‘opening credits’ that true fans of the show would know and love and changing Ari and Vince’s careers isn’t exactly out of the realm of things that could have happened in the real world. Yes to be blunt Ellin makes the Entourage movie work because he keeps it realistic.
The irony of what I said before is that for all the reasons that non-Entourage fans would get lost in this film are most of the reasons that true fans will love it. Ellin doesn’t go over the top filling in character’s back stories just to appease the ‘newcomers’ to the franchise. So as a result if you take the character of Eric as an example to a newcomer he looks like a bad guy. The kind of guy who is racing off having sex with whoever he meets while his ex is pregnant… now any true fan of the series knows that Eric isn’t a bad guy and is just making some bad decisions in his life. Likewise with Turtle, how is a newcomer supposed to know he was a fat sponger for a long time, so how would they understand some of the humor aimed at him? And for that matter how would they also understand some of the jokes about Johnny or why Ari is so frustrated that Lloyd (Rex Lee – Young & Hungry) wants him to be part of his wedding? Actually how would they even know who Lloyd is? And how will they get the same laughs out of seeing Mark Wahlberg (Ted) appear in the movie if they don’t know the series was loosely based on his life? No Entourage is firmly a film only for those that fell in love with the series.
For the fans though Entourage is a real gem. Ellin’s comedic moments work a treat, especially when he isn’t trying (Ari punching a picture of a kitten while denying having an anger problem is classic) and the throwaway lines at the expense of characters or real life celebrities all hit the spot well. Ellin also loads this film with celebrity cameos that all really work, to his credit none of them seem forced not even the short ones featuring the likes of Liam Neeson or Kelsey Grammer for example, they all feel natural and will be lapped up by the audience.
What else works with Entourage is the drama and intrigue that the script and storyline manages to bring to the table. As the film goes on and Vince is more and more reluctant to show his film to anyone you actually do find yourself wondering whether he has really made a masterpiece or whether it will be a piece of rubbish. Then when things such as the sex tape and Travis’ interference into Hyde increases the sinking feeling that this film is going to see Ari and Vince have a very public fall from the Hollywood elite seems more and more likely. It is stuff like that that shows this is a classy film that really knows how to draw its audience in.
As we all learned from the television series Kevin Connolly and Jeremy Piven are the acting gold when it comes to Entourage. Adrian Grenier might be the public face and star of this film but Piven owns him right throughout the film. Ari is back bigger and meaner than ever and Piven lets himself run with that stealing scenes from his co-stars as he finds just the right mix of comedy and drama to really shine. Likewise Connolly who plays the ‘wet puppy’ this time around but does absolutely nothing wrong in a role that can lift his Hollywood star.
Whether you love or hate Entourage will come down solely to whether or not you were a fan of the television series. Go into this film without having ever seen an episode and you are going to be completely lost, but if you enter the cinema having watched the series throughout then this is going to feel like you are catching up with old friends. Entourage is far from the perfect film but it is a good continuation of a television series that obviously has more stories to tell. If however this is the last that we see of Entourage then I think fans will be truly happy with the one it ends. This is one for the Entourage fanboys only.
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