2014 – 2015: The Movies You Should Have Watched

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I have always been a fan of movies, for as long as I can remember, and once I became an adult I started to properly indulge in my most favourite hobby. With a cinema membership card in one hand and ‘all the movies you can watch’ privilege in another, I managed to come across the following fantastic films:

The Imitation Game

The name, Beneditch Cumberbatch, became almost synonymous with the hit series, Sherlock Holmes, which I never truly managed to become an avid fan of. That is not a reflection on the quality and entertainment value of the series itself but just simply because my spare time was occupied with watching other series like American Horror Story, True Blood, Being Mary Jane, Banshee, Empire etc. However, when I saw the trailer for the movie, Imitation Game, I wanted to see why there was such a big fuss about this actor. This movie was fantastic and I give special credit to Beneditch Cumberbatch and actress, Keira Knightley, who managed to transform their script into this riveting and compelling film. On the surface, the movie appears to be centred around the seemingly impossible task of breaking a highly complex and intuitive German code called Enigma. True to its name, this code was a mystery and managed to frustrate and confuse even the most brilliant minds, except one. What is compelling about the film is that the process of breaking the code serves only as a backdrop to the real focus of the movie which is the protagonist’s own personal secret – a secret he manages to cleverly (and even theatrically) hide. The blatant arrogance, lack of tact and awkwardness that Beneditch Cumberbatch masterfully portrays in the film added to the movie’s charm and pull. This is truly a film to see.

Magic Mike XXL

Now this film is the truth! I watched the first film, Magic Mike, and found it to be cute but I was immediately fascinated by Channing Tatum. Therefore, when Magic Mike XXL was released I didn’t even think twice about watching it. Now the start of the film was very modest and I was actually very disappointed by it. The reason was because the protagonist was no longer a stripper but was rather working as an entrepreneur in his own furniture business and pretty much living life like any ordinary individual. Curiously, his love interest from the previous film was also nowhere to be found. However, the latter half of the film compensated for the lacklustre start. The film started to become interesting once the protagonist’s previous male stripper colleagues decided to pay him a visit on their way to the infamous Stripper Dance Convention. A bit of the old Mike comes back to life in the scene where he is working in his garage and the song ‘Pony’ comes on the radio. This man was whining, grinding and rhythmically gyrating on that worktable that he had me in the cinema secretly saying ‘Hallelujah’ and ‘Thank you Lord’. However, THAT was just a tip of the ice berg. The scene with Jada Pinkett and the actual Stripper Convention was undoubtedly the highlight of the movie. Channing Tatum really outdid himself and had me (and all the other ladies in the cinema) melting in our seats. I actually felt sorry for the men that tagged along. Even if they attempted to do the same once they got back home, I can tell you that Channing Tatum’s moves would be a hard act to follow. Joe Manganiello, the actor that plays the role of a wolf in True Blood, is also another one to look out for. He did his role justice near the end of the movie. For me, this film has gone down in the annals of movie history as the baddest male stripper movie to date. Go ahead, see for yourself. I dear you to prove me wrong!

Crimson Peak [2015]

This movie was masterfully enacted and skilfully directed, incorporating all the elements you would find across different genres – horror, suspense, thriller, drama and romance. However, the strength of the film lies in its shock factor. In essence, a girl’s mother warns her, in a ghastly ghost silhouette, that she should stay away from Crimson Peak. Once the girl is mature, the very man that she falls in love with so happens to live in Crimson Peak (which is discovered long after the fact). However, along the way there is the shock of how the father for this woman is murdered, the shock factor surrounding the terrible condition of her lover’s (eventually husband’s) house, the shock behind the reasons why there are strange and blood-chilling ghosts that come out at nights but (even more so) the shock of the horrid secret between the husband and his sister who, from the very beginning, does a brilliant job of embracing the role of a cold and icy bitch. The abhorrent secrets and heinous acts were so mind-blowing that even long after the film, I was still rehashing the fictional events in my mind. This movie was not only gripping, it was also jaw-dropping. You have to see it for yourself to believe it. (Side note: Tom Hiddleston is absolutely gorgeous).

American Sniper

Bradley Cooper stars in this Clint Eastwood film which is not only a potential tear-jerker but also based on a true story. The tone of the movie is set by a conversation that the protagonist remembers as a child where his father spoke about sheep, wolves and shepherd dogs. The sheep was an analogy for people who were followers. Wolves referred to those people whose sole purpose was to wreak havoc and destruction while shepherd dogs were seen as protectors of the weak. The protagonist, in his role as an American sniper, inadvertently exhibits the traits of a ‘shepherd dog’ by providing protection to his troops from roof tops. This film was fantastic because it made you examine issues such as child soldiers and the disease, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), which soldiers often suffer after fighting wars. Bradley Cooper played a very convincing role in this movie and did well to pay tribute to the memory of the soldier, Chris Kyle, who is classed as America’s most lethal sniper in US military history.

Legend [2015]

First of all, let me make it clear that Tom Hardy is a work of art. This man was so sleek, handsome and fierce in this film that he had me melting in my seat. Now about the movie – this film was so crazy that it was superb. Tom Hardy had the unenviable role of playing himself twice in this film in his portrayal of the true story behind the Kray twins. These twins were the closest London ever got to having a mafia and they controlled both a lucrative business and formidable criminal network. Now the sheer fact that Tom Hardy was able to maintain the individuality and uniqueness of both characters was not only undoubtedly difficult but highly impressive. This is evident throughout the film but especially during the fight scene between the twins. The film had you cracking up with stitches the same way it had you in shock and amazement. As flawed, morally bankrupt and rough as the twins were, you couldn’t help but feel saddened by their ultimate fate in the end. I absolutely enjoyed this film and I’m pretty sure you would too.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

I have watched Mocking Jay and I have watched the first Maze Runner and I must say that I prefer the latter. The first movie, Maze Runner, was absolutely brilliant. It was action packed, full of suspense and did well to capture all the raw human emotions that naturally arise from being held in captivity while fighting for survival. Maze Runner – The Scorch Trials, was no different. At the start I was lulled into a false sense of security that the protagonist and his friends had finally escaped this tyrannical woman that was experimenting on survivors to find a drug for a deadly disease called ‘the flare’. It soon became evident that the protagonist was right in the lion’s den but he discovers this just in time to make a narrow escape with his friends. On the outside, however, they face a whole host of other dangers such as zombies, mercenaries, cataclysmic weather and even death at the hands of the very rebellion they are seeking to join. The film also has its fair share of betrayal, death and sacrifice all thrown into the plot. It is a really good watch. Most importantly, there is a very strong possibility that there will be a third part to this movie. Therefore, don’t delay. Start catching up on the first two!

Fast and the Furious 7

If you thought that the preview showed pretty much all the good stuff in this movie, think again. I didn’t realise how intense this film was until I saw the imprints of my fingernails in the handles of my seat once I loosened my grip at the end of the film. This movie is worth its weight in gold. The film’s visual effects was flawless, the storyline – clear, the jokes – corny but cute and the emotions – real. The line up of actors was also impressive with the likes of The Rock (Dwayne Johnson), Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris (Chris Bridges), Jason Statham and Vin Diesel. The fight scenes and the escapade in Dubai are both thrilling and mind-blowing. The ending is also extremely touching and the film director managed to do a wonderful job of completing the movie despite the death of Paul Walker. The film’s moving conclusion combined with the absolutely brilliant soundtrack ‘See You Again’ formed the perfect tribute to Paul Walker’s memory. Believe me when I say, this movie will not disappoint.



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