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Review: The Gambler

26th January 2015 | Films

Review: The Gambler

Mark Wahlberg is an actor who seems to choose his films with a certain pattern. For every outstanding film he is in, it’s usually followed by a film that’s not-so-good. For example, Ted in 2012 was fantastic – Broken City in 2013 wasn’t so good. Equally, Lone Survivor in 2013 wasn’t so good, but Transformers: Age of Extinction was amazing. Unfortunately, The Gambler is Wahlberg’s next film after Transformers.

In ‘The Gambler’, Mark Wahlberg plays the character of Jim Bennett, an English teacher turned high-stakes gambler who’s in a predicament when he borrows money from a gambler (Michael Kenneth Williams) and offers his own life as collateral. Bennett plays both sides of the coin, immersing himself in the underground world of gambling whilst gaining the attention of Frank (the outstanding John Goodman), a loan shark with interest in Bennett’s future. As his relationship with basketball-player and student (Brie Larson) deepens, Bennett must make some serious risks.

The Gambler is a bit like a burger. The bun and the salad (beginning and end) are a bit soggy at times, but the meat (the middle) is nice and juicy.

The beginning of the film focuses most of its energy on Bennett’s character development, but no matter how hard it tries, the fault is with the worker not his tools. Wahlberg plays a potentially complex character as a one-dimensional addict who doesn’t care what anybody thinks of him. He walks with a swagger that makes you want to hit him and, Wahlberg – from me to you – sunglasses indoors is a no no.

One thing you can’t fault Wahlberg on, however, is how well he plays that one-dimensional, arrogant addict. It’s conviction, that’s for sure.

In more ways that one, ‘The Gambler’ is a typical 21st century…

Review: Annie

22nd December 2014 | Films

Review: Annie

Remaking a classic family movie is always a risky move – and the movie industry has experienced its fair share of remake-flops in its time, let’s take Nicholas Cage’s remake of The Wicker Man as an example. When news broke that Sony Pictures were going to make a new ‘urban’ version of Annie our heads sunk right into our hands…


But there was no need to.


The 1982 version of Annie was a box office smash hit and resonated with audiences internationally – but, would a remake identical to the original adaptation have a similar effect? No. The 1982 film sold so well because it was relevant – there were orphans, there were poorly run orphanages, adoption was rare. In 2014 the term ‘orphan’ is obsolete, the new ‘foster homes’ are run with the government to high standards and adoption is highly likely. Our new Foster Annie (instead of Orphan Annie) is with the times, and that makes for a fresh, exciting film.


2014’s Annie doesn’t try to be 1982’s Annie – in fact, it tries to stay far away from it and makes that clear from the outset. The opening scene shows a traditional-looking, ginger-haired girl named Annie showing a presentation to the rest of her class. To that, the teacher says “Good job Annie, now Annie B it’s your turn” and our new, darker skinned, frizzy brown haired Annie stands up.


There are many changes to this film which distances it from the original. For one, Agatha Hannigan is now known as Colleen Hannigan and is played by Cameron Diaz and Oliver Warbucks is now known as William Stacks and is played by Jamie Foxx. Also, Stacks is a politician whereas Warbucks was a businessman and the character of “Rooster” (the man who comes up with…

58th BFI London Film Festival 2014: Bypass Red Carpet

13th October 2014 | Films

58th BFI London Film Festival 2014: Bypass Red Carpet

The W!ZARD Radio Station and W!ZARD News teams attended the Red Carpet Premier for "Bypass".

 

'Bypass' is the long-anticipated follow up to Duane Hopkins' 2008 debut, 'Better Things'.

 

'Bypass' documents the breaking point in the life of Tim ('George Mackay'), a young man too physically weedy and soft-hearted to cope with the extreme demands on his life on a council estate, with a terminally ill single mother, an absent father and brother, and a net of troubles close around him.

 

Starring Charlotte Spencer ('Les Miserables', 'Dark Shadows') as Lily, George Mackay as Time ('Defiance', 'How I Live Now'), Lara Peak as Helen ('Spaceship') and many more.

 

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