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The Rat who is made of Stainless Steel


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Film Reviews: The Drop (2014), 300: Rise of An Empire (2014), and Megamind (2010)
Movies
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The Drop (2014). Based on a short story by Dennis Lehane, and directed by Michaël R. Roskam. Set in Brooklyn, Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy) is a bartender at his cousin Marv's (James Gandolfini) bar. While walking home from the bar one night Bob hears a dog whining. He finds a badly beaten puppy in the bin of a house, and while tending to it the owner of the house (Noomi Rapace) comes out to see what's going on. The Drop is a tale of grit in a neighbourhood where petty and organised crime are the norm. Hardy, Gandolfini, and Rapace are excellent among an equally excellent supporting cast. The story moves along at a good pace and kept me engrossed throughout. For fans of crime drama that's heavy on plain storytelling. 4/5 (Good)

300: Rise of an Empire (2014). Based on the as-yet-unreleased Frank Miller graphic novel Xerxes (in turn based on historical battles), and directed by Noam Murro. The film is told partly in flashback, following a motivational speech by Queen Gorgo of Sparta (Lena Headey) as they are about to engage in the Battle of Salamis. The story jumps to ten years earlier when Thermistocles' (Sullivan Stapleton) Greek fleet was engaging with the Persians, and he kills King Darius with an arrow. My basic problem with the 300 films is that they are so over-stylised. This wasn't so much of a problem the first time around, but is definitely more of a problem the second time around. Also this second film - set before, during, and after the historical events of the first - just seems more... dull. The stylised epic sea battles just feel like poor CGI, whereas I'd rather see a more faithful historical recreation. The one hundredth over-the-top-gory-blood-spurt is about as exciting as the first one wasn't. The only saving grave for me were the character performances from Eva Green, Lena Headey, and Rodrigo Santoro, and to a lesser extent Sullivan Stapleton. If you couldn't get enough of the first 300 film then you'll want to watch it. If not then tread more carefully. 2/5 (Poor)

Megamind (2010). Written by Alan J Schoolcraft and Brent Simons, and directed by Tom McGrath. Megamind (voiced by Will Ferrell) and Metro Man (voiced by Brad Pitt) are respectively an alien evil mastermind and alien superhero, that both came to Earth as children. They have been nemeses since childhood, and it's during present day events that Megamind finally manages to kill Metro Man. He then begins to realise what a mistake that was when nothing else offers him any challenge. Megamind is very much the family film, albeit aimed at older kids. I enjoyed it though as it has a rich story touching on a variety of sensible life topics, and has some great characters, with Megamind particularly well voiced by Ferrell. For me it definitely fell into the category of decent family film, so for those that like that sort of thing. 4/5 (Good)

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