Tag Archives: Sharlto Copley

Maleficent (2014) Movie Retro Review by Darrin Gauthier


Director: Robert Stromberg
Writers: Linda Woolverton (screenplay by), Charles Perrault (based on “La Belle au bois dormant” written by)
Stars: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley

Plot:  A vengeful fairy is driven to curse an infant princess, only to discover that the child may be the one person who can restore peace to their troubled land.
Running Time: 1 hour 37 minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 51%   Audience 70%

Why I watched it: Almost didn’t, this has been on my Netflix list for awhile and I’ll be honest I picked it as a random pick and even then I watched it cause of it’s short running time.

Thoughts: This may be a case that’s it’s better you don’t know the source material cause this is a huge re-imagining to the point this doesn’t even remind me of Sleeping Beauty.  Trying to turn a villain into a hero is tricky and a bit silly.

What I liked: This film is watchable because of Angelina Jolie, I’m not a huge fan but you have to give her credit watching this film you’re watching a movie star and she makes this watchable with sheer star power.  She’s very good and she’s not working with much but she has such an ease about her on screen and of course tons of charisma and all the while with cut off wings and two big horns.

I do thing the one thing the film hits is ‪Maleficent‬ she’s an interesting character and she’s not one note plus she also has an arc.
I also liked Sam Riley an actor I don’t always care for as I find him a tad bland but here he hits the right note as ‪Maleficent‬’s henchman/helper and I liked the look of his character.

Now the film is way to CGI heavy for me but the characters for the most part look with a few exceptions.  The film does have a fantasy element to it, the world is fun to look at, a little busy but it’s a bold and very colorful place.

What I Didn’t Like: Like I’ve mention this film is overloaded with CGI to the point it almost feels like an animated film, and at times it really takes you out of the film.  The three fairies that look after Sleepy Beauty, who by the way I liked in the animated film are terrible here, the CGI characters are creepy looking and when they’re real people they’re unfunny and honestly they come across like fingernails on a chalk board.  You feel nothing about them and really the fact that they create no on screen bond with Sleepy Beauty is a major flaw.  They raised her so 16 years.  Also Sharlto Copley is acting like he’s in another film, I think he’s doing a Scottish accent, no one else is doing a Scottish accent and he feels like he’s stumbled out of Macbeth.  His performance doesn’t track with the rest of the film, every time he’s in a scene there’s a huge tonal swift.

The film feels very slight to me, like they’re just hitting the high points of a story that was better told before, the film drags at points and really seems padded at 97 minutes.  The film has just one fleshed out character, Elle Fanning basically smiles the whole film, she needed some depth and we needed stakes.  The film just feels uneven and really it’s hard to get into the main plot.  I’m not shocked there’s talk of a sequel cause I think ‪Maleficent‬ is a character rich enough to be in better stories.  The battle/fight scenes are serviceable but again it’s so special effects driven that you are kind of detached while they’re going on.

Final Thoughts: Though a tad slow it’s a watchable movie, don’t go in thinking you’re seeing Sleepy Beauty but from ‪Maleficent‬’s perspective cause this is an entirely different film.

Rating: ‪5/10‬

Free Fire (2016) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier


Director: Ben Wheatley
Writers: Amy Jump (screenplay by), Ben Wheatley (screenplay by)
Stars: Sharlto Copley, Brie Larson, Armie Hammer

Plot:  Set in Boston in 1978, a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two gangs turns into a shootout and a game of survival.

Running Time: 91 minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 67%    Audience 54%
Why I watched it: Mostly the cast.

Thoughts: Ben Wheatley is a different director he bounces from genre to genre and a lot of the times his stuff is a tad pretentious but here he goes for a straight crime shoot’em’up.

What I liked: The set up is good, they do a nice job of giving us a glimpse of each character and then set the plot in motion.

This is a very good cast for this type of film my two favourites were Sharlto Copley who’s way over the top but his timing is so good you have to laugh at him, he fleshes out a stock character by making him weird and humorous. I also liked Armie Hammer, with a full beard and not playing his stock pretty boy, he’s very entertaining and I think gave the best performance.  Some of his asides are very fun and break up the non stop shooting and swearing, he’s actually trying to think his way through this.

I’ll give them credit this is basically one set and this is about a 40-50 minutes shoot out, they do ring tension and humour out of the situation.

What I didn’t like: I’ll be honest when I read the plot description I didn’t realise this was set in Boston and really there was no reason to have it set in 1978 except for the fact they wanted no cell phones maybe.

I really think they wasted Cillian Murphy here, he’s a very good actor and one of my personal favourites and really he has nothing to do and his character is one note and I’ll be honest I didn’t learn a thing about him, very bland character.  Brie Larson didn’t work in this at all, and actually she stands out like a sore thumb and not because she was the only women but she seem to be in a different movie, she’s cold and detached and that’s hard to be when bullets are flying everywhere.  Her character is even more bland than Murphy’s, her only thing is that she’s a women, nothing else.  She didn’t add or bring anything to the character she reacted that’s it.

Even though the film is 91 minutes, it drags and really by the 70 minute mark I stopped caring,  they didn’t throw anything new to spice up the end, this was just one big fire fight in an old factory that’s it and it did have some style but it ran out of steam and also we weren’t routing for anyone.  I didn’t care you lived or died and to that point I really didn’t care for the ending.

Final Thoughts: Decent short film idea stretched to feature film length.  It was directed well and had some good performances but mainly forgettable.

Rating: 5/10

Open Grave (2013) Movie Retro Review by Darrin Gauthier ‬


Director: Gonzalo López-Gallego
Writers: Eddie Borey, Chris Borey
Stars: Sharlto Copley, Thomas Kretschmann, Josie Ho

‪Plot:  A man wakes up in the wilderness, in a pit full of dead bodies, with no memory and must determine if the murderer is one of the strangers who rescued him, or if he himself is the killer.‬
‪Running Time: 1 hour 42 minutes‬
‪IMDB Score: 6.3‬

‪Why I watched it: It’s genre and it was on iTunes for .99 cents, alright a dollar but still it was worth the risk.‬

‪Thoughts: I pretty well went into this cold, this film was really under the radar, so I went in knowing the plot and that was it.‬

‪What I liked: Open Grave is a gimmick movie and it’s also a movie hard to review cause anything about the plot is a spoiler, there’s a sub-genre of people waking up and having no memory and they don’t know who there are or what’s going on, I have to admit there’s been a couple of good movies with that premise and you can do a lot with it.  What I like here for the most part is that Open Grave is trying to make you guess what kind of film it is, now about half way through you can figure it out and I actually said out loud to no one”oh it’s a …… movie” now up until then the film was moving pretty good.  I won’t give it away cause really it’s the one thing the film has going for it.‬

‪The cast is fine but it’s hard when everyone is playing some with amnesia, not a lot of character work being done, everyone is confused and scared. I like Sharlto Copley, he’s a different actor, his look if different and he always plays characters that are a little off, now he’s no stranger to genre work and he’s fine here, he pretty much carries the film, I also like Thomas Kretschmann as well, he plays that gray area really well is he good is he bad and to play that when even the character doesn’t know is pretty hard but he pulls it off.‬

‪The film does have a good amount of tension and it’s shot pretty well, it’s set out in the woods, at least that’s what it looks like and the open space does make it a bit creepy and suspenseful. ‬

‪What I didn’t like: The film drags, and even though the idea and gimmick works they idea is strained about half way through, they try their best but you can’t keep up the game for over a hour and half we have to deal with the plot and the plot drags mid way through and once we know what’s going on it really does rely heavily on cliches of the genre.  By the end of the film is your standard film and maybe that’s why the main plot or the genre is a secret once you know it’s not a huge surprise and they don’t do anything different with the idea.‬

‪The supporting actors are fine but every role is written the same and it’s hard to care about people you know nothing about and yes of course there’s some huge plot holes and some of it doesn’t make sense, it’s one of those movies once you see the whole thing mentally you go back and pick it apart.  The film is fine when we’re trying to figure out what’s going on but once we do then it falls pretty much flat.  They relied to much on the gimmick to carry the film and they pushed it too far trying to keep the guessing going and the film ended up losing flow and momentum.‬

‪Final Thoughts: Not a bad film and I give credit to the idea and some of the acting like I said is good and some of the suspense and tension was well done, the film need to be tighter and a tad more original.‬

‪Rating: 4/10‬

Free Fire (2016) Movie Review by John Walsh


Director: Ben Wheatley
Writers: Amy Jump (screenplay), Ben Wheatley (screenplay)
Stars: Sharlto Copley, Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, Michael Smiley

Lacking a little in the story/plot department (there’s none to speak of), but more than making up for it with a cast bursting at the metaphorical seams with chemistry and also an enjoyable, relentless, maniacal theme of needless violence throughout. Ben Wheatley has directed easily one of my favourite films of the year so far with Free Fire.

As I mentioned it lacks majorly in terms of the story, the premise and development throughout are incredibly simple, but it somehow works and it’s a fun, enjoyable, hour and a half ride of pure escapism. It’s set in the 1970s, within the confines of a Boston warehouse, as two opposing groups meet for a botched arms deal. One side, consisting of IRA hard men, headed up by Chris and Frank (Cillian Murphy and Michael Smiley); and the other, a neurotic Rhodesian once mistaken for a child genius, his ex-Black Panther associate and a menacing hitman (actually can’t recall what he was?). The latter three going by the names Vernon, Martin and Ord respectively (Sharlto Copley, Babou Ceesay and Armie Hammer). Acting as go between of sorts and the architect behind the meeting is Justine (Brie Larsen).

The tension builds almost immediately as the Irish await a couple of their underlings arriving, before meeting with Ord, who’s obnoxious and dismissive taunting tone does nothing to alleviate matters. And it’s said underlings that act as the catalyst for the mayhem that ensues. Vernon, you see, is a bit of dodgy git and heightens the tension by trying to hoodwink the Irish, selling them the wrong guns and seemingly getting away with it too. Unfortunately for him though, underlings Stevo (Sam Riley) and Harry (Jack Reynor) come to blows after a freak double crossing of paths, the former glassing Harry’s young cousin the night before. When shots are then fired, the entire deal goes south and the warehouse soon turns into a war zone, the events literally playing out in slow-motion at one point to weirdly humorous effect.

At this point any notion of a plot goes out the window, the main objective appearing to be who’s claiming the briefcase packed with cash that’s dropped in no man’s land between the two warring parties. Vernon in particular can be heard repeatedly screaming about it in his almost humorously, high pitched, South African accent. Later he’s heard telling Ord, without a hint of irony, “What the fuck is wrong with you? How can you think about money in a time like this?”. To make matters worse, there’s a rat in their midst and a third party soon turns up in the form of a sniper, taking pot shots at the exposed bodies on the floor. This chaotic shootout continues on for what seems like the entire running time, with some intermittent ceasefires dotted throughout, and it was incredibly entertaining for a reason I can’t really put my finger on. Maybe it was just the mindlessness of it all.

The dialogue between the characters was a massive plus for this film. It was witty, realistic and hilarious at times as insults were hurled around and retorts quickly sent flying back. My favourite of these was perhaps Frank’s cracker to Ord, “Save it for your fucking autobiography”. The timing was absolutely perfect and the little laugh that rang out after only added to it. There was so many though that it’s honestly difficult to choose. There was also a cool use of background sound in this film and I’m not totally sure if this was done deliberately or not. But there was numerous times were characters could be heard continuing their conversations off camera, as attention turned away from them and this was also evident during the wild cross fire in the extended middle act. An example of this being the aforementioned screams about the briefcase from Vernon. It was a subtle little thing I noticed and liked it.

Another hugely enjoyable aspect was the real ensemble performance from the cast. As I mentioned before, I thought there was bucket loads of chemistry between them all and the combination of this and the well written dialogue made it a joy to watch. Cillian Murphy, Brie Larsen, Armie Hammer and Sharlto Copley were all excellent here as they went to town on each other. Larsen in particular with her flip flopping between sides and then eventual turn to lone wolf. Whilst the grudge match between Sam Riley and Jack Reynor’s characters that threaded it’s way throughout the story to a fitting conclusion was equally brilliant. I’ve left a few names out, but there honestly wasn’t one actor from the main core of characters that was poor in this. It really did remind me of a Tarantino film in a lot of ways, with the excellent dialogue, music at times and manner in which side characters were given relevance.

This film really should be enjoyed with as little spoilers as possible, so I’ll not prattle on any more with that in mind. There’s not much more I can say other than watch this bloody film. It’s entertaining and worth giving up an hour and half of your time to see.