Rampage

GoMovieReviews Rating:

Rated: MRampage

Directed by: Brad Peyton

Screenplay by: Ryan Engle and Carlton Cuse & Ryan J. Condal and Adam Sztykiel

Story by: Ryan Engle, based on the video game Rampage

Produced by: Beau Flynn, John Rickard, Brad Peyton and Hiram Garcia

Director of Photography: Jaron Presant

Music is Composed by: Andrew Lockington

VFX Supervisor: Colin Strause

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Malin Akerman, Jake Lacy, Joe Manganiello and Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

After an experiment in space goes wrong with the Subject destroying the spaceship and allowing canisters containing a genetically mixed pathogen to fall to the Earth – all hell breaks loose as animals’ breath-in the pathogen to exponentially grow into giant mutant monsters.

The focus of the story revolves around Primatologist Davis Okoy (Dwayne Johnson) who has a close relationship with an albino silverback gorilla named George.

So when George inhales the pathogen, it’s up to Okoy and genetic engineer, Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) to save the once docile primate and find an antidote.

It’s a solid storyline written by Ryan Engle and based on the video game Rampage – with many of the crew from San Andreas (2015) collaborating again to create Rampage: the third film from Johnson, director Peyton and producer Flynn.

The music is also once again composed by Andrew Lockington, giving the same feel as San Andreas but instead of a disaster film we have a monster film with VFX supervisor Colin Strause returning to create the realistic monsters.

I have to say, as with all the action/adventure films, there’s always that added humour – the quips here a bit weak.

And alligators (one of the monsters) and crocodiles have two eyelids, not one as shown here.  I don’t know why I was particularly distracted by this oversight, probably because the effects were otherwise so realistic.

Seeing giant mutants tearing up a city is always fun to watch on the big screen – and the effects here were outstanding (except for that missing eyelid!).

And I couldn’t help but warm to George, the not-so-gentle giant.  A little like Primatologist Davis Okoy as the seeming gentle animal lover – who doesn’t get along with humans but loves animals because you always know where you stand and like George, he’s not always so gentle.

So, there were some good parts and some not-so-good making the film a little trashy, but good-trash.

As a side note, the humour in an action movie can make all the difference for me.  If there’s some surprising dark humour or a loveable funny character (George, here, I guess), it raises the film-going experience.

The action and effects were high quality here, I just felt the humour was a bit lazy.

Over-all, good fun on the big screen with Johnson firmly at the helm, this time his massive arms over-shadowed by his monster-friend George.

So you get the feel with muscled action, big crashes with explosions mixed with a bit of warmth and humanity: classic Johnson, but better than San Andreas because I like seeing giant mutant monsters tearing up a city.

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Miss Sloane

GoMovieReviews Rating:

Rated: MMiss Sloane

Directed by: John Madden

Written By: Jonathan Perera

Produced by: Ben Browning, Kris Thykier

Executive Producers: Claude Leger, Jonathan Vanger, Patrick Chu

Starring: Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alison Pill, Michael Stuhlbarg, Jake Lacy, Sam Waterston and John Lithgow.

A perfectly layered political drama/thriller that plays out like an intricate game of chess.

As the character, Miss Sloane (Jessica Chastain, two-time Academy Award nominee) says, ‘Lobbying is about foresight, about anticipating your opponent’s moves and devising countermeasures. The winner plots one step ahead of the opposition. It’s about making sure you surprise them and they don’t surprise you’.

Miss Sloane

Miss Sloane is a fast-paced film as the audience is taken along with the calculating mind of Sloane. And what an amazing complicated character to watch: her ambition, misdirection, suspicion, lack of moral code; she’s portrayed as a sociopath and to watch this brilliant relentless mind at work is fascinating.

The film opens as Sloane’s held to account in front of a congressional hearing regarding her code of conduct and ethical standards.  Then flashes back to what led her to the ultimate confrontation: pushing to pass a Bill requiring the background check of those wanting to buy firearms.  Translating to: Miss Sloane versus the Gun Lobbyists.

In the supporting cast, there’s the well-known faces of Mark Strong as the CEO of the boutique firm she joins to fight for the Bill, and Sam Waterston as George Dupont: head of an old-school lobbying firm where she earned her name as one of the most cutthroat lobbyists around, willing to do anything to win.Miss Sloane

It’s hard not to think back to Law & Order when seeing Sam Waterston.  He plays the lobbyist so well but as a twist, he’s the bad guy here.

Screenwriter Jonathan Perera has had his first script translated to the big screen by director John Madden.  And what a pleasure it must have been pulling so many layers together into the glorious satisfying end.  When I say layers, there’s a lot going on here but the delicate touch of Madden let the story keep its own pace, with each move a further step towards a reveal you don’t see coming.

Perera was a U.K.-educated attorney who left his practice to write, his background adding an authenticity and edge to those cat-and-mouse games shown so well in this film.  But there’s also the revelation of how the whole lobbying business works in American politics.  And what it means to take on the power that is the gun lobby group, self-portrayed as the protectors of the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. 

Madden and Perera went to great lengths to ensure the accuracy of how lobbying works, consulting a lobbying firm: Glover Park Group. 

I admit I was a little lost at the beginning of the film.  The character, Miss Sloane’s mind works fast and the audience is expected to keep up with the jargon.  My advice is if you don’t follow, let it go.  It’s worth keeping up with the film as it runs, and well worth the journey.

What makes the film truly successful is the complicated nature of the character that is Miss Sloane.  She’s certainly not the most empathetic woman, but the obsession to win at any cost was somehow relatable: I wanted to be as smart and sophisticated as her.  But the film also shows the cost of her success making Miss Sloane strangely likeable.

This is a thoroughly absorbing film because its cleverness is combined with an undercurrent of emotion that’s felt without needing explanation. 

Classy and smart all the way – brilliant.

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