Review: Son of a Gun
Serving a six-month sentence for a minor crime in a Western Australia prison, JR (Brenton Thwaites) falls under the protection of the alpha male and Australia’s public enemy number one, Brendan Lynch (Ewan McGregor). Of course, protection comes at a price and after helping Lynch and his crew break out, JR is invited to take part in a heist that promises to deliver millions if it can be pulled off without a hitch.
What starts out as a prison movie, with a grittiness reminiscent of David Mackenzie’s excellent Starred Up, soon becomes a heist movie fused with a gangster drama, in which the young JR finds himself the reluctant player in a strategic game where he must plot 10 steps ahead or risk falling victim to a potentially deadly venture.
Son of a Gun beats viewers around the head with glaringly obvious chess metaphors and the themes at play, namely mentor clashing with a student and the pursuit of forbidden love, are familiar, but first-time filmmaker Julius Avery has come up with a neatly packaged, fast-paced debut crime thriller complete with several pleasing set pieces.
Review by Matt Blackwell
Jim Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) is a literature teacher with a sordid secret. Coming from money and privilege, he resents his own background and only feels alive when risking everything at the blackjack table. This leads to a self-destructive spiral of blowing borrowed money until he owes thousands to the wrong people and may have to pay with his life, but for one last role of the dice. Not your typical Wahlberg thriller, The Gambler is stylishly directed but ultimately lacks conviction and suffers from a slightly rambling script.
The Clash of Empires
A race of peaceful hobbits are attacked and enslaved by the dragon-riding cannibals known as the Java Men. One young hero decides to shake off the chains of oppression and enlists the help of humans in his search for an enchanted dagger that will free his people. The special effects are clunky and the script is poor. All in all, a dire film that shamelessly seeks to exploit the success of recent fantasy flicks such as The Hobbit and Seventh Son.
Preview: The Testament of Youth
Based on Vera Brittain’s World War I memoir, The Testament of Youth is a British drama that tells the story of a generation who had their youth stolen by the horrors of war. Vera (played by Alicia Vikander) postponed her studies at Oxford University to serve as a Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse during the war both in London and abroad.
Director Vikramjit Singh’s debut feature centres on a love triangle between filmmaker Kabir Grewal (Arjun Rampal), a mysterious thief named Roy (Ranbir Kapoor) and their mutual love interest. The Indian romantic thriller also features Jacqueline Fernandez in a dual role as a bohemian filmmaker and a glamorous globetrotter.
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