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The Counsellor Tony Ridley Scott Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, Rosie Perez, Natalie Dormer, Bruno Ganz, Toby Kebbell, John Leguizamo, Dean Norris,

The Counselor: when a lawyer invests in a drug smuggling operation that goes south, the world around him collapses. This movie essentially comprises of a heap of dragged-out scenes where fine actors deliver lines that probably looked great in a script, but end up coming over as quasi-biblical, pears of faux wisdom “that would sound totally rad in the trailer, man.” Some of the conversations were so vague and non-directional that they felt intentionally cryptic for no reason. The other distracting aspect was the ridiculously over-luxurious, decadent and excessive lifestyle of every protagonist; lavish clothes, jewels, cars, props, and even animals – it feels more like you’re flipping through a high-end fashion magazine. The casting here is crazy-good, and the quality of actors is world-class, there’s even some great flashes of acting – but it’s all crushed under the weight of great expectations. The most fun you can get out of this is playing the “OMG it’s that guy” cameo-spotting game, with the likes of Toby Kebbell, DeanHankNorris, Donna Air, Rosie Perez, Bruno Ganz. And seriously, does Cormac McCarty just sit at home thinking of new ways to kill people all day? In a nutshell, The Counselor is too arthouse-y for it’s own good – and the distracting stars, lifestyles, plot, and “that would be cool in a film” conversations make it all feel like a surreal advert – aimed more at getting punters in the screen, than delivering a decent film. You can’t help but feel disappointed that a cast/director/writer this good have produced something so ordinary and forgettable – when compared to a lesser cast and (arguably lesser) director doing balls-to-the-wall a film like Savages. The Counselor is a ridiculously convoluted (although NOT as hard to follow as people have made out) that lets us know immoral actions may have grave consequences – ahhh duh duh duh duh!

Score: 4/10

True Romance: (Blu Ray, Director’s Cut) A guy that loves, and is frequently visited by, Elvis runs away with a girl that looks mysteriously like Lolita after they score a suitcase of drugs: cue the mafia and police hunting them down. Definitely not your average tale of monogamy. The story-driven action is a different class, mixing the best bits of Tarantino’s script with a Tony Scott in his Prime. It’s pretty violent, especially the final shootout and girly beat-down – although that scene can claim ‘best chest in a fight, ever’ award. Another highlight is the dazzling ensemble cast including Gandolfini, Oldman, Chris Penn, Rubinek, Kilmer, a noteworthy stoned Brad Pitt and one of cinemas truly great moments: Dennis Hopper & Christopher Walken mesmerisingly discussing the finer points of Sicilian heritage with a dash of classic piano. Not to be forgotten, Slater and Arquette give what could easily be the performances of their careers. There’s some great tension (lift scene) and it lands up being quite poetic given the content. Can’t forget the cheesy / feathery ending and staple Tarantino cooler-than-thou movie & pop culture throughout. The picture and sound are both astonishingly average, only fans should upgrade. All-in, you can’t really fault much of this movie, and it’s amazing to think that even all the big names couldn’t save True Romance at the Box Office. Impressive runaway fantasy.

Score: 7.5/10